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Humans of Maryville

Humans of Maryville: Draven Fuller

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In the bottom level of Maple 3 lives Draven Fuller. A fourth year sports business management major who spends his time surrounding himself with music, basketball, his friends and a pen. Greeted with a friendly handshake, I enter the living room that is filled with music, sports jerseys and posters galore. Draven notices my eyes meeting the poster above the TV, a beautiful piece of Jimi Hendrix. “That one is actually pretty cool. If you feel it, the paint is raised, or whatever. I think it’s called acrylic paint.”

The apartment is clean. Everything has a place. I immediately point out the music playing throughout the whole place. “I figured we listen to music enough that we’d invest in a sound bar and really do it right. I think I have music playing at all times.”

My next 40 minutes, well, 40 minutes and 25 seconds to be exact, were latent with conversation that sparked wonder from both parties and heavy bass from the music playing throughout.

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So you’re obviously someone I’ve seen over many years now with so much more to you than just being a normal student and –

(Draven Fuller) I appreciate that man.

With that being said, I’ve been super excited to sit down and talk with you for awhile now. Simple things first, where are you from? How did you get here? Why are you here? You know, the normal stuff.

 

(DF) OK, so I’m from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is the second biggest city in Iowa, for the people here that don’t know. Um, how did I get here? It’s a pretty crazy story actually. My best friend in high school, we played basketball together, during a summer tournament he got a letter from Coach Carroll saying that he was interested or whatever, and we always wanted to go to the same school together, so I thought I’d look into it. In seventh grade, we had this thing where we’re supposed to pick a major and send out newsletters to schools and they’re supposed to send you information back. As a seventh grader, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, so I just chose sports business and it turned out Maryville had a good Sports Business program. They stopped having contact with my friend, of course he didn’t come here, but I kept looking into the school. I actually took a visit here because I was visiting SLU and I thought I’d throw Maryville in, just because I was here. I had a meeting with Jason Williams,  head of sports business, and he had a really personal presentation for me, he knew my name and all that. He really, um, took pride in knowing my family and stuff like that so that hooked me and, yea, I decided to come here and I’ve been here for four years since. Yea, so really weird story, through a friend, then I got here and some people in St. Louis didn’t even know what Maryville was. And now it’s a bigger name.

What have your four years been like so far?

(DF) Um, they’ve been good – I can’t complain honestly. You know, I feel truly blessed to be here, you know, to even make it to college in four years. If I were to describe my years here, I’d say a lot of growth; yea, a lot of growth. I thought I had more things figured out when I first got here, that’s for sure. I thought sports business and being an agent would just be my life. And I found a lot of other interests, of course writing now, that’s what I like to do. Yea, I’ll just say that I thought I knew a lot more about life when I was coming in compared to what I do now.

What have you found out?

(DF) I found out that hard work is basically the only thing that’s going to put you where you want to be. You have to have periods of talking about it, brainstorming whatever dreams you have, but the only thing that’s going to actually get you there is hard work.

For sure.

(DF) What else have I learned in four years? Time flies, that’s for sure. Yea, honestly, find out what you love and do that until you can’t do it anymore. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re doing – basically taking anything that’s, you know, feedback or whatever it is, take it and know that at the end of the day, you are the only one who truly knows what’s going to be best for yourself. So I would say those are the big things I’ve learned.

Talk to me about the writing thing. Where did that start?

(DF) Man… (laughs).

Where are you with it now? Future plans?

(DF) So writing –

I mean you have a blog and shit now, that’s pretty cool.

(DF) I never thought – I never thought I’d have a blog. Growing up people always told me to get one and I thought I was supposed to just tell people about what I thought and things like that. But I’ve learned that it’s, one, a blog is way more than just a blog. A blog is a marketplace, it’s a platform for you, its an introduction into a lot of things. But writing, my mom is a poet, so I’ve always had a knack for words, but I never took it seriously. Until about seventh grade, I entered a writing contest where you were supposed to read a book and then write an essay about what that book taught you, and then it enters into an across-the-country writing contest.  I read a book by Earl Woods, Tiger Woods’ dad, called Start Something. Basically the whole book was on, like, just being progressive and proactive and doing whatever, you know? So I wrote a thing on it and ended up – every week our teachers would get our classes together and say ‘ok this is who made it to the next round’, so regionals, city, state, whatever it was. I think I made it to the second to last round, I didn’t win the whole US one, but I made it pretty far. That got published in the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C.

Wow.

(DF) Yeah that was pretty cool for me and I guess that was the first time that I thought ‘Oh, I guess I can really write.’ And after that, I didn’t really start writing personally, I took a lot of pride in whenever I got papers in school and making sure I did them well. I just noticed that teachers would write little notes letting me know I was good at writing, but I still never took it seriously – I considered myself an athlete, I played a lot of sports. And then randomly, actually the summer before I got here, me and my uncle were sitting at a baseball game, and he was like ‘I think you should start a blog.’ Once again I said ‘No.’ And he was like ‘No I think it would be something good, you don’t have to write to get people’s insight or anything, just write for yourself – just thoughts you want to get down.’ I thought I could just do that in a journal, but I (DF) wasn’t even doing that (laughs.) Started brainstorming a little bit and I looked into it and I thought I could use this to get across my thoughts, in the situations I’ve been through, I’ve learned a lot whether it was good or bad. And I feel that other people can learn from what I’ve done or what I’ve seen. So that’s the angle I took on it. Me and my friend were sitting there brainstorming and I was thinking about what I should call it. And at this point I knew nothing about business or anything like that so it was just self-titled, ‘Draven’s Blunt View.’ So I just put it out there, whatever it is. I wrote up an intro post explaining how this wasn’t for anybody else or anything like that, just basically in defense of – well, I didn’t want anyone critiquing my writing.

(Laughs.)

(DF) I wrote that, people liked it and after that I just started writing whatever came to me. Its evolved a lot, like I said the blog is way more than posts, it’s a platform, I legitimately think I’ve built a brand through it. The connections of, like, what people tell you – I remember the first time, I wrote a post about my assistant coach in high school, we had an end of the year banquet and he had a quote saying, ‘This is by far the smallest guy on the team, but he by far has the biggest heart.’ So I put that in a post and I went home my freshman year for Christmas and my aunt told me, Coach Mackie is his name, and she told me he read that and it brought him to tears. That was the first time I had a genuine reaction to something I wrote. I knew that it was way bigger than me at that point, you know that’s a grown man, to be honest I wasn’t thinking about him too much, and just to know that it had that much of an affect on him, that’s when I picked it up a lot more. I’m not writing to provoke emotion, but I’m understanding more of what my writing can do. And I just started writing with that angle. Future plans with it? I’m writing a book. First one is going to be excerpts from the blog now, put them down in print form. Probably 30 or so posts from the 90 I have now. And then after that, I want to write an autobiography but that’s kind of hard to do now.

(laughs) I mean you’re still so young.

(DF) (laughs) Exactly, you don’t know what to put in there at the moment. So for the future just keep writing and keep spreading the word.

That’s dope. Do you want to make a career out of it?

(DF) Yeah I do, I definitely do. Whether it’s – I really think writing is a tool that has gotten swept to the side as an art. I know for me that I was writing a lot on my computer and I got bad writer’s block. For like four or five months, I couldn’t post anything; Nothing I wrote I liked. I decided to go back to the basics. I went to get a bunch of journals of pens and started free-handing it. And that’s honestly what got me out of it because I started just breaking down the art of writing and really getting through what you want to say, word placement and things like that.

Its not as meticulous.

(DF) Exactly.

It truly is an art form when its your own craft when its your own handwriting, your own –

(DF) Exactly and that’s what I’ve always took pride in, handwriting like that. I was actually really anal about it when I was young. Notes from months ago I would go in and rewrite it.

(laughs)

(DF) But yea, its an actual art form and I think it’s really important and it’s, I don’t know how to word it, it’s underrated from a communication standpoint in the way that there’s a lot of things in life that you can’t quite say in the moment, there are many thoughts that kind of run through. But when somebody sees it on paper, or wherever it is in writing, it sinks better.

It’s permanent at that point.

(DF) Yea.

0s6a0448You can read it five or six times and its still there.

(DF) Yeah definitely. So I do want to make a career out of it, whether it’s writing movies or TV shows or whatever it is, I love the craft for sure.

Now, music plays into it some way.

(DF) Mhm.

Obviously you’re always surrounded by, I’ve known that about you for a long time, and recently, relatively recently, you’ve started to put poetry to beats now.

(DF) Right. Um, that is interesting because when I was really young, once again like eighth grade, around the time that my mom passed, I made a couple songs and put them on Facebook, they’re still there, and it’s hilarious to go back and watch them. But I did that, and I didn’t do it after that until recently, this summer actually. How that came up, music has always been big to me, I love music. I think that’s another art form that is very pure in the that it’s somebody’s expression and I think it’s crazy that you can hear vibrations from your stereo and it gives you chills and it can put you in different positions or experiences you’ve had. So with me and music, why I’ve started to do it more recently – I’m glad you said ‘poetry to music’ because that’s what I see it as. Once again, my mom being a poet, that all rap or hip-hop, or whatever type of music it is, it’s writing words or poetry to a rhyme scheme, or maybe it doesn’t rhyme at all, but you put the actual music in the background to create that art. I just wanted another way to get word out, because some people, of course some people take in music differently than they take in a post. Some of the poems I’ve written, I’ve had a tune in my head, but then I thought that I didn’t have a producer, so I’d just put it in post form. Recently, learning more about music, and what it takes to make it, yea, I’ve just taken that up recently.

What I like about it is, you see a lot of – I think rap is interesting at the moment because you see a lot of, from my understanding of it, I think rap is more divided now than its ever been in the sense of, like, 10, 15, 20 years ago, east coast and west coast rap were really different.

(DF) Totally.

And now, the majority of main stream rap isn’t so much lyrical as it is about things just sounding good, having a good beat, and making it a song you can just vibe to. Versus artists like Kendrick Lamar, who stick out so much because he doesn’t need to make a banger, he writes – he actually writes.

(DF) Yeah.

Which is why when I saw your first post on Instagram, that’s why I call it ‘poetry’ because you actually write and mean something that sounds good, yes, but also means more than, you know, a White Iverson (laughs).

(DF) (laughs) And I appreciate that fully, that’s, you know just going forward, I don’t exactly know where I’ll be with it. I look at myself as someone who will always try to spread what I believe as truth and I could never write any other way than poetry the way it is. But going back to what you were saying about music and the way it’s changed. Hip-hop and rap are almost pop music with how popular it is. With the way its changed sonically is that it’s not about what you’re saying now, it’s about the melodies. You don’t even have to be able to sing now because the technology has evolved, so its just a melody and a good beat that someone can listen to. Yeah, whether it’s Migos with ‘Bad and Boujee’ or something like that, you’re going to put on at a party and no one is going to care what they’re saying. But with the way I write, I want people to be able to – I would never shoot for a Billboard #1 hit or anything like that, I want something that will be timeless, that you will want to play over and over. Not something that will be hot for a minute or whatever. Kendrick Lamar for me is top 3, top 5, favorite artists, for me. Me and my friend were talking the other day that even the way he freestyles, the way he approaches the mic, you can tell that he cherishes it and that it means something. Other people just approach it as ‘I’m here, this is something I have to do.’ But for him, it’s a passion, its an art, it’s a craft – something you take seriously. So I’d like to be able to look at myself as a total artist, not just someone who’s going to make a song. 

You’re an artist, you’re not a musician.

(DF) Exactly man, exactly.

It’s interesting, I even get into conversation with people about photography stuff. They say ‘Anyone can be a photographer,’ and that’s true, anyone can! But its different when you, like for me, music has always been so massive –

(DF) Yeah.

Its always been so massive and, like, 90 percent of the time I take photos, there’s a beat to the pictures I’m taking. Which is weird, because they’re not necessarily combined, but it’s having a much more artistic approach to your craft than just clicking a button or writing a thing.

(DF) That definitely applies to all types of art, especially photography, like yeah, my brother picked up a camera recently and he’s shot some really good stuff, like most of the things on my Instagram accounts from him. He didn’t have any experience with it, it just comes from inspiration. Whatever you’re trying to portray, people not always get, but that’s part of it too; Perception is reality, but your perception isn’t always someone else’s reality. I really believe that. The way you see something is never going to be the same (as someone else’s). You can spend hours and hours trying to describe something the way you want others to see it but its just based off the break down of their experiences.

 That’s one of the things I’ve learned. I’m almost 22, and in my lifetime I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve stopped trying to explain things so much. However they’re going to take it, they’re going to take it.

(DF) Yeah I really like the quote ‘Whatever is understood doesn’t need to be explained.’ Numerous times you’ll wear yourself out trying to explain yourself to people. I try to always fall back on do it for the art and do it for the love. Whatever comes from it is supposed to be. That’s basically how I go about that.

That’s dope. What’re you listening to now? Or the stuff that you go back to. It doesn’t have to be your favorite, I mean I’ve been listening to Post Malone for the last three weeks and he’s not even close to my favorite.

(DF) (laughs) For the last year and a half, I’ve been going through severe waves, like I’ll bump an album for two weeks to a month and then it’s onto the next one. Whatever I naturally revert back to is something I subconsciously picked up and think, ‘oh I like that.” But what do I listen to? The Travis Scott album, for sure is good for any type of vibe. The Weeknd’s new album, I love that one sonically, and that’s one of the albums that if you do individual songs, you may be like, ‘eh’ but if you let it run clean through it’s good.

Dude people have lost the value of listening to complete albums. They rely so heavily on songs – and all my friends make fun of me because I do albums, pretty much exclusively only albums.

(DF) My whole library is albums, I hardly do singles.

Exactly and you know, as an artist, you understand – for example, not to keep bringing him up, but Kendrick Lamar, I remember when I first listened to To Pimp a Butterfly, the thing that stuck out to me was the monologue that grows on itself throughout the entire album, starting with the first line, and by the end of the album, it’s a full monologue. Obviously there are certain songs that stuck out, but to be honest, I didn’t understand the album the first five or six months. It took my several times listening to the full album before I feel like I got a general album, but the art of the album as a whole was incredible, and you’ll never get that from one song. 

(DF) Never. The thing is – I was talking to my roommate the other day about albums, I don’t even know the last time I pressed shuffle on an album. I still have to listen straight through –

Its almost disrespectful (laughs) .

(DF) It really is! (laughs) Like how’re you going to mix this album up. The artist put it there for a specific reason for the album to sound a certain way so you can make connections. But yea, the value of listening to albums has gone down a lot. I think it’s coming back a little bit with vinyl. I think more artists are starting to drop more albums as opposed to mixtapes. So hopefully the art of listening to albums and valuing albums and being able to judge that as a piece of work comes back because I really live for albums; singles don’t really do too much for me. Even if I’ve heard the single before, I need to know, sonically, why the artist put it there in the first place. I was talking about how Travis Scott placed Antidote in the album and how it was really well placed, and then Big Sean just came out with his album and I thought Moves was completely out of place, but still, its not up to me.

That was kind of the thing with The Life of Pablo. I think the first four or five songs go really well together, but then after that it’s a bunch of random-ass songs. And that was a little disappointing because that’s the first Kanye album that seems thrown together. But you know how Kanye is, maybe in three years we’ll look back and think its perfect, that’s what happened with Yeezus for me.

(DF) Yeah that’s nuts. You can never know when someone is ahead of their time. And Kanye is so good about, I don’t remember what interview I was watching, that’s another thing: I’m really big on watching interviews to get a total scope of an artist because there’s no other content that you get that’s better than them saying their own words. But I was watching a Kanye interview and he said ‘I have no problem with being a trend-setting or a trailblazer or if I take all of the blame for knocking down walls or breaking the barrier. And if in five years, people come after me and take after me, so be it.’ And you can never really know, he likes to yell and go on rants, but you can never really know what Kanye wants to do with whatever art he puts out. Ultimately it’s up for whatever interpretation you want.

Then you have guys like Chance the Rapper, and in his interviews, he exclusively calls his ‘albums’ mixtapes. And about a month and a half, two months ago, he finally stated that the next project of his will be a full album. He talks so heavily on the difference between a mixtape and an album. A mixtape, you’re kind of ‘allowed’ to have it be a hodge-podge of placement, but with albums you have to be really careful. And he’s my favorite guy in the game right now. He’s even brilliant, Chance 3 is even brilliantly placed.

(DF) That’s all I have on my wall, just Chance posters, ever since 10 Day. Mixtapes are weird with him because Acid Rap, for me, felt like an album when I listen to it.

Definitely.

(DF) The big thing with him is he’s an independent artist, which is hugely inspiring to me. He doesn’t need a big-label backing, he does it all himself since I’ve followed him. Early in his career, printing his own t-shirts and stuff… So now, with everything he’s done, putting that together to make an official album when everything he’s done so far sounds super album quality, that’s just outrageous. A lot of people don’t know the difference between albums and a mixtape, and I don’t think a lot of people care. But as an artist it’s a treat to say ‘I put this into this.’ With mixtapes, no matter how hard they work on it, they can always pass it off as a point-in-time thing. Albums, is more of a time-period thing, you’re either trying to project something or capsulate something. I’m excited as an artist to have conversations with other artists about things like that and be able to make those distinctions.

As an artist, who do you draw inspiration from? 

(DF) That’s a very good question. Man… I would say a lot from Kendrick. He’s a true Gemini and I truly do believe in the two sides of a Gemini, and he really balances between being a really humble person, and then some of his bars are super aggressive.

(Laughs)

(DF) I draw inspiration from that because it lets me know I can be like that and still have a chip on my shoulder. Chance, definitely, because independent and does everything himself. When I started my blog, I started writing, and started making t-shirts, I know how hard it is to get sole-proprietorship or whatever to sell funds and get funds to have people believe in your ideas. Its just crazy to hear him go from 10 Day, which I was listening to Senior Year, to now the Emmys, or uh…

Grammys.

(DF) Yeah Grammys. ESPYs, that’s what I was trying to say. He did that (Muhammad Ali) tribute. It’s crazy to say that. I would say my mom, definitely.

Does that still stick with you every day?

(DF) Yeah, well, not every day. I’ve never been one to say, and I’m definitely not judging, but ‘I’m thinking of you every day’, because I think its almost impossible to really recollect on everything every day. It’s mostly the little things. I don’t know, when you’re talking to a girl and you wonder ‘what would my mom think?’, just things like that. When I’m writing, I would definitely like to hear what she would say about it, you know? Yeah, it definitely sticks with me for sure and something I carry with me. It’s something I take pride in, persevering, and just carrying the torch because I honestly think she’s 10 times better of a writer than I’ll ever be, but I still carry that with me.

That’s a wild thing.

(DF) Yeah it is, its always crazy. Its always crazy to lost somebody and then try to think how they’d react to certain things. Because you really want to say you’d know, but that’s the whole reason you’re asking yourself the question in the first place, because you really don’t know.

**Draven’s roommate and teammate walks out the front door**

(laughs) His head almost hits the top of the door.

(DF) (Laughs) 6’10” cannot be fun.

I’m 6’2” and I have no desire to be 6’10.”

(DF) Not at all (laughs). I even thought about it, like even if it makes you a superior athlete, eventually that stops, like after that, its not comfortable to live.

Shaq is on TV, and what, he’s 7’2”?

(DF) Big boy. And now that he’s not playing he’s what, 360lbs? That’s a big ass dude.

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So what’s next? I’m a big believer in possibility. So in 10 years time, if all the limiting factors, finances, how much you know, what you’re ‘qualified’ for, where you are geographically – if all of those things weren’t factors, what does your life look like in 10 years?

(DF) In 10 years… wow. Nothing is holding me back?  In 10 years, I’m at a point where my brand is definitely running itself – its self-sufficient. Honestly, for it to outgrow me. I want DBV, Draven’s Blunt View, but its bigger than that. It’s Despite a Billion Variables, which is what the underlining motto of it is. I want it to be real estate, restaurants, all that. I just what to get to a point where what I’ve created is a self-sufficient engine where I can collaborate and volunteer wherever I want to. I really believe in, once you get to a certain point, you have to donate. And I don’t want to put a monetary value on it, because its not just about money, but you can donate knowledge, or time, or experience, you know, going in and telling people how you did what you did. So in 10 years I want to be traveling and spreading my word to as many people as I can and freelancing. I have no limits. No limits with who I can work with or what I can do. If I want to take time off, don’t want to be in the public eye for six months, there are no constrictions. Still definitely making art – I’m living.

That’s dope.

(DF) I do, by 30, want to have a Bentley (laughs). So that’s one of my goals.

Good shit, I love that.

(DF) I appreciate that man.

Now my final question is a question I always like to ask. And why I ask it, is that I think everyone has something to say, everyone has an opinion, I don’t need to be telling you this –

(DF) (laughs) Right.

Everyone has an opinion and very rarely do they get asked the right question. They have an opinion, they have something they find important, but very rarely do they get prompted. So my final question is: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you wish I had? Or is there anything that you wish to share?

(DF) That’s a good question. And I do fully agree with that – There are so many interviews, or forums, or whatever where 1) people really like to hear themselves talk, and 2) they want validation for what they have to say.

And how shitty of a thought is it that you spend 45 minutes with someone and you walk away thinking ‘wow, we didn’t even talk about what I really care about.’

(DF) So I don’t know if there’s anything specific… If I were to say anything, it’s that I put a lot of value on chasing dreams. I like to press things to the point where they either bend or break. I like to see how far things can go with thoughts. Honestly, yeah, just pretty thinking. Freedom of thought is a big thing to me. Don’t ever question questions you have or the way you think about things. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be impeccable with your word. Really believe what you believe in. I’m trying to think of any questions… If anything, I want people to know that I’m more social than I seem.

(Laughs)

(DF) That’s probably one thing. If I had to get that across, (laughs). I’m pretty introverted, but all it takes is one conversation, just like anybody else. I guess, do what you love, find a passion and do it for as long as you can. Life has taught me that time is very limited, so wasting your time doing anything you’re not interested or invested in is very dangerous. Be very genuine and trust your gut as much as possible.

You almost speak in a very spiritual sense. It’s very interesting. The word choice you use, the way, in my eyes, the way you methodically go about the way you speak, there’s a very spiritual approach to the way you speak. 

(DF) One, I have to thank you for that. I don’t want to say I’ve worked on that, but being a writer, I value words. The right words need to be said at the right time. I feel that I need to think about the words I say because there’s that perception point; somebody is going to perceive your words some way. So you want them to have this outlook on the way I say things, even though they may not. I do think out the way I talk because I don’t ever want to come off a way I didn’t intend. The one thing you can control is what you said. And in terms of being spiritual, definitely. Definitely a lot of faith and just knowing that it’s way bigger than me. I’ve been put in situations that I’ve had no control over and I know it’s a part of something bigger. I have trust and faith that I do know what I’m doing, and I know that its good-hearted. And once again, being impeccable with your word, and not second-guessing what you think is right. We’ve been on this earth 21, 22 years now, there’s eventually a point where what you see, feel, act, that’s you and that’s how you’re going to go about the world.

Swipe Right, Swipe Left: A Look at Tinder

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tinder
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Tinder Inc.

In a digital era, nearly every college student has heard of Tinder. In fact, a large majority of students have actually used the app. Some love it, and some hate it. What is it that makes users swipe right or swipe left?

Ben Berberich, sophomore, is a fan of using Tinder. He has met four different people there. In fact, he met his current boyfriend, Tyler, on the app. Berberich had his first interaction with his boyfriend after Tyler “super-liked” his profile. Berberich said he did not know what a super like meant at the time, but seeing that caused him to message Tyler right away. A super like shows that an individual has more than the average interest in someone else.

“With today’s society, online and social media dating is becoming more and more common,” Berberich said. He found that Tinder was a great place to find relationships, instead of meaningless hook-ups he found on other apps.

Berberich admitted that he was scared the first time he met his boyfriend. The two had been interacting on Snapchat before the date. “As with any first date, the nerves of meeting someone for the first time were there,” Berberich said.

Berberich feels that Tinder gets a bad reputation. Since online dating has not been around that long, he believes that some people see it as a joking matter. He said that it is much more common to find someone online or on different apps. “Even Instagram and Twitter have been becoming apps where people can start talking and dating.”

Ben (left) and his boyfriend, Tyler (right.) Photo courtesy of Ben Berberich.
Ben and his boyfriend, Tyler (right). Photo courtesy of Berberich.

On the other hand, some students do not take part in the trend of online dating. Micah Murphy, sophomore, does not have a Tinder and she has no intentions of getting one. “I don’t want a Tinder because I like to meet people the traditional way,” Murphy said.

Murphy feels that it is better to meet someone at school. She likes to get to a person and spend some time together before going on a romantic date. She feels that meeting someone in a class or on campus would make dating simpler. “It makes it easier and convenient,” Murphy said.

Murphy explained that Tinder is not popular where she is from and perhaps that is why she has been discouraged from downloading the app. Even though she does not use the app, she is supportive of others who do. “I don’t have anything against it [Tinder]. It’s just not something that I would do.”

Many love to swipe, while others do not. Online dating is tricky business. Below are some tips on safe online dating:

While online:

  • Never give out any confidential personal information.
  • Be cautious of fake accounts.
  • Block any users that make you feel uncomfortable.

When meeting someone you met online:

  • Always meet in a public location, and stay there on the first date.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you are going.
  • Drive yourself. Do not get into a stranger’s car.
  • Stay sober and use your best judgment.

MU Lacrosse: Outplay, Outwork, Outlast

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One of the fastest growing sports in the United States is finally poised to make its debut at Maryville University. According to a study by the New York Times, men’s lacrosse is one of only a few sports that are consistently growing in popularity throughout the country. University of Michigan’s athletic director, Dave Brandon, said about lacrosse, “The more we dug into it, the more we believed that this is just a sport of the future. Lacrosse’s trend lines in every way we could measure were impressive and made us believe that this is a place where we could grow and be a part of something that would over time be very big.” It seems that Maryville’s athletic department has taken notice about the growth that men’s lacrosse is receiving. The sport has been wildly successful on the east coast and is starting to spread to the rest of the country. With the demand for lacrosse at an all-time high, the team at Maryville is determined not to disappoint its growing number of fans.

There are sure to be challenges at every corner for this team. The most obvious of these challenges is the lack of participation in the sport. Considering that this is the first season that lacrosse will ever be played at Maryville University, numerous members of the team will be playing in their first game. Forget not playing lacrosse last year, some of the athletes on the roster have not played the sport ever. Only two members of the team were playing lacrosse last season. The lack of experience should create some obstacles, but nothing that this team isn’t willing to face head on. Head coach, Philip Newton, is excited about the opportunity to build a new program. Newton said, “It’s exciting because the players don’t know what to expect. Every game is chance to reach a goal and achieve a new milestone. Because the team is so new there will certainly be ups and down, but we are focused on building consistency, and building a culture and identity for this team.”

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The roster is filled with incredible athletes who should provide fans with a youthful and exciting brand of lacrosse to watch. Junior captain, Brett Harris, said, “Our biggest strength as a team is our athleticism and our ability to be strong defensively.”

This team will certainly be entertaining to watch, but it is still unclear how successful this team will be. Newton and the rest of the team seem to be uninterested in defining their season with wins and loses. Newton said, “Our focus is to establish a culture on and off the field. Building a winning culture that does the right things on and off the field is what is going to define our season. We’re going to focus on the present, not the past or the future, and continue to improve everyday.”

The team will compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Saints will play a 15-game regular season schedule that will constantly challenge the members of the team. They will play 10 Rocky Mountain Conference games as well as five out of conference games against: Hendrix College, University of Tampa, University of Indianapolis, Ottawa University, and Lindenwood University.

Check out the full schedule here and go support our newest Saints team.

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All photos by Nolan J. Berry

Rom-Coms, Gifts and Restaurants: Your Top 3 Guide to Valentine’s Day

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Not sure what to do on Valentine’s Day? This is your guide. After asking students around campus what their favorite romantic comedies, restaurants and gift ideas are, here are the top three answers for each category.

 

Photo courtesy of Megan McDaniel.
Photo courtesy of Megan McDaniel.

Rom-Coms

“What else is there to do on Valentine’s Day than watch a rom-com? I love ‘Clueless’ because it’s on Netflix and I don’t have to leave my house,” Rendeh Abusaid, senior, said.

All three of these romantic comedies are on Netflix, so they are Maryville-student approved.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Stars: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles

Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes

Ratings from Maryville Students: 8/10

Click here to watch the trailer.

 

Clueless (1995)

Stars: Paul Rudd, Alicia Silverstone

Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes

Ratings from Maryville Students: 9/10

Click here to watch the trailer.

 

Leap Year (2010)

Stars: Amy Adams, Adam Scott, Matthew Goode

Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes

Ratings from Maryville Students: 9.5/10

Click here to watch the trailer.

 

Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day gifts don’t have to be over the top. This is the time to give a small gift to those special people in our lives.

Photo courtesy of Megan McDaniel.

 

Photo Books/Framed Photos

A photo book with all of your favorite photos of you and your significant other is a special way to show how much you care about them. Another option, instead of a whole book, could be a framed photo. Shutterfly has great deals for customized frames and books.

 

Bath Bombs

Photo courtesy of Megan McDaniel
Photo courtesy of Megan McDaniel.

 

Bath bombs make a great gift for a special someone. Lush has a wide variety of bath bombs and they have a special Valentine’s Day collection. These are small gifts with prices ranging from $4-$8, but will be greatly appreciated by those receiving them. 

 

 

Meaningful Gifts

This can be something that is meaningful to you and your significant other. Something that wouldn’t make sense to other people, but is perfect for you. Maybe it brings back memories from time spent together, or it is an inside joke. Either way, a thought out gift like this will be a hit for Valentine’s Day.

“Meaningful gifts are more personal. They put thought into it. My boyfriend and I have this thing where we talk about having a pet dragon. He said, ‘I can’t give you a real dragon, so here’s one on a necklace,’” Melody Koenegstein, freshman, said.

 

Restaurants

Valentine’s Day is one of the few days out of the year that it is expected to splurge on a nice dinner. Whether you want to go out, or cook a nice meal at home, these are the top three choices from Maryville students.

 

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot in Town and Country is offering a special Valentine’s Day menu for the whole month of February. The cost is $65 and includes a four-course meal, consisting of cheese fondue, salad, an entree and a chocolate fondue.

 

Maggiano’s Little Italy

Maggiano’s is another good option if you’re looking for an intimate setting. For Valentine’s Day they are offering a meal for two for $79. This special menu is available February 10-16.

“Maggiano’s has the perfect ambiance for Valentine’s Day. I love the cheese ravioli and chocolate cake. The cake is really big, so you can’t eat it all in one sitting,” Hannah Corner, junior, said.

 

Homemade Meals/Cooking Together

If you’re looking to enjoy a quiet night in on Valentine’s Day, making a homemade meal with your significant other is the way to go. You can save money and not have to worry about waiting in line at a crowded restaurant.

Did we miss anything? Tweet us @MvillePawprint!

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate: 4 Go-to Recipes for Valentine’s Day

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One of the best parts of Valentine’s Day is eating your heart out in chocolate without being judged by a single person. Everyone thinks Valentine’s Day is about love, but let’s get real; It’s all about the chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies. Photo courtesy of Jenny Nguyen.
Chocolate chip cookies. Photo courtesy of Jenny Nguyen.

You can never go wrong with anything heart shaped, especially cookies. Cookies are fun to make and even more fun to eat. “This is my first Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend and I will be making my famous chocolate chip cookies for him,” Emily Moeller, freshman, said. This recipe is from Betty Crocker.

Ingredients:

1 cup softened butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. With a whisk/electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and egg in a bowl.
  3. Stir in the flour, salt and baking soda and batter will be stiff.
  4. Add in the chocolate chips and mix throughout.
  5. Scoop out a tablespoon of dough and spread about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve!

Choco Chip Pancakes

Chocolate chip pancakes. Photo courtesy of Jenny Nguyen.
Chocolate chip pancakes. Photo courtesy of Jenny Nguyen.

The most important meal of the day is breakfast and what better way to start of the romantic day, than to spend it with your significant other. Chocolate chip pancakes never disappoint. This recipe is by KJ from Food.

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup milk

4 tablespoons melted butter

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix well.
  2. In another bowl beat eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract until it’s smooth.
  3. Mix dry and wet ingredients together until there are no lumps.
  4. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is thoroughly combined.
  5. Heat the skillet on medium to high.
  6. Pour in the batter in the skillet.
  7. Flip when the top begins to bubble and cook until light golden brown.
  8. Serve hot with maple syrup.

Chocolate Chip Dip

Take a dip into love with this sweet cream cheese dip. Dips are some of the easiest food to make and most scrumptious to eat. This chocolate chip dip is the way to anyone’s heart.

Ingredients:

1 package cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Graham crackers

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until it’s light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Serve with graham crackers or fruit!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate and strawberries are a staple for Valentine’s Day. “It’s a good combination of the sweet chocolate and the tart strawberries. I love biting into the crispy shell of chocolate,” Madison Bieg, third year student said.

Ingredients:

Strawberries

2 cups of chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds and then 15 second bursts until melted.
  2. Wash the strawberries and dry them.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted, dip the strawberry in the melted chocolate.
  4. Put the chocolate covered strawberries on parchment paper.
  5. Place in the fridge until hardened and serve.

With easy recipes like this, you will be a chocolate connoisseur. What’s your favorite chocolate dessert? Please share with Maryville Pawprint on Facebook.  

Boo Valentine’s Day: An Anti-Valentine’s Day Ode

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pasted-image-0In tribute to the great rapper Lil Wayne “Love is in the air and I hold my breath ‘til my face turns purple.” For those who are single or taken or simply just aren’t interested in the famous holiday, there are several options.  Considering the history of this tragic holiday, it may be best that we let this day rest in peace rather than celebrate it by giving into a market created by the Hallmark Card Company.

It begins with the end

First off, this holiday has its origins in death. A few centuries ago, a man named Valentine was killed because of his love for his jailer’s daughter. History would tell it that he sent his lover a letter just before his death, signed “From Your Valentine.” Why would anyone want to memorialize that?

Is this really about love?

Next, the holiday seems to be most important to women, considering that out of the 1 billion cards purchased every year, women purchase 85 percent of them. Men might not really be interested in showing love in such a public way when it can be shown on any of the other 364 days of the year.  It’s really just a time for overpriced candy and flowers that will be marked down the next day. “I honestly hope that my significant other would never give me flowers, they’re going to die, I’d rather get something I can eat or use,” Lynda Oppong, senior, said. 

S.A.D. aka Singles Awareness Daypasted-image-2

Finally, the final nail in the coffin. Valentine’s day can be a reminder of every failed relationship someone has ever been in, as well as reaffirmation of the fact that one is alone rather than cuddled up with a significant other. No one needs that kind of negativity in their lives.

 

So for those of you who are strongly opposed to celebrating this holiday in love-filled bliss, here are a few things that you can do instead:

  1. If you shred a photo of your ex at Hooters on Valentine’s Day, they will give you free wings. screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-59-05-am(Picture Courtesy of Hooters)
  2. Rather than following the herds of people that will be going to see any of the various romantic comedies or chick flicks, go see a horror or action movie instead. screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-5-21-45-pm(Photo Courtesy of Google)
  3. Gather your other single friends and have a Galentine’s Day. Check out this article about how to have a Galentine’s Day celebration. “You can have a food party, where everyone brings food and watches a movie, like John Tucker Must Die,” Ashley Willmeno, junior, said. pasted-image

Tweet us and let us know how any of these Anti-Valentine’s Day Suggestions worked @mvillepawprint.

 

Humans of Maryville: Chris Mendes

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Disclaimer: Strong Language Used


Seeing people before you’re supposed to meet with them has always fascinated me. They are in their element. Sure, they’re waiting for you too, but they’re there first. They choose the table, they choose what’s on the table – it’s their space. People make space their own quickly, and even faster at a university. A table opens up at Gander, it gets filled within minutes. A parking space opens, it gets filled faster than it was vacated.fullsizerender-jpg-1

I met Christopher Mendes, (most people know him as Chris, or the guy with a full tattoo sleeve,) 27-year-old psychology and sociology double major. This was not the first time we had been acquaintances, in fact, I can remember the first time I heard Chris’s deep, raspy voice in freshman year sociology. It seemed that each semester I would somehow run into Chris again.

Seated in a grey long-sleeved t-shirt, short enough to expose the black Apple Watch on his right wrist, I interrupted Chris in doing some reading for the class that we have together. “It’s interesting, for a class that is called Western Culture, we sure do read a lot of European books.” I knew I was in for a good conversation.

So it’s your senior year, do you know what you’re going to do come May?

Mendes: Come May, uh, so I’m applying to SLU right now and I will be submitting my application for graduate school in their MSW (Master of Social Work) program by the end of this week. And I guess after May I’ll be working a lot this summer and head down to Orlando for a week with the girlfriend.

What do you do for work?

Mendes: Right now I work as a mental health technician for CenterPointe Hospital –

Wow! How’d you get plugged in with that?

CM: Actually through (Dr.) Wideman’s Social Work class, well, it was an introduction type class where we went around to different places where different social workers and therapists work. We surveyed what they do – we did that for two hours every Friday morning. I walked into CenterPointe and they mentioned they were hiring so I just kind of snagged it up.

What all do you do for them?

CM: As a mental health technician, I work mostly with the acute or some patients who are going through… understanding their diagnosis. So there’s some sort of behavioral disorder – these patients range from drug // alcohol addictions, to patients with schizophrenia, bipolar. The patients I primarily work with are patients who either don’t take their medicine or who are just coming into their diagnosis and don’t know how to handle it, so they’re pretty extreme on their way of handling it. The ‘detoxers’ that we work with are people who are just coming off of heroin highs and alcohol withdrawal. My job is to make sure they’re safe during treatment. We have groups and I get to talk to them about goal setting and the importance of it. When we got upon discharge, we prep them to get back into the real world and set up their social workers and whatnot.

Seems like it would be pretty rewarding.

It is pretty rewarding.

In my line of learning about psychology, and more specifically social work, it was a really clear indication that it wasn’t for me because I would see things in the textbook (like photos and stories) and it would just absolutely break my heart. How are you able to establish the boundary between being at CenterPointe and be fully invested there, yet be able to leave that stuff there and not let it affect your day-to-day life?

So I’ve spent a lot of time, I mean, I was in the military for five years, and I did a lot of time away from home. The tours in Afghanistan majorly prepped me for wanting to seek something bigger than myself and do a job that maybe not everyone would be able to do – Its one of those things that that feeling of helping someone else takes away the bag, you know?

Mhm.

As long as I can leave work knowing I’ve done something good today. If I’ve gotten to one person then today was a good day. Working at CenterPointe there are days where it does get rough… (um) Anytime that we have to restrain somebody because they’re physically hurting themselves or are in danger of hurting somebody else, or one of our staff members that’s always a rough day and we hate doing that. And days like those sometimes people leave work thinking ‘God did I fail at work today?’ The answer is no. Leaving your job each day knowing that you did something to help somebody else definitely helps with the emotional baggage.

I definitely do want to talk about the military thing later.

(laughs)

In the news currently, mental health is a huge thing.

Definitely.

And to my understanding, which is very little, I think there are a lot of lies in the way that the media portrays mental health and I don’t think people fully understand it. I think it takes someone, such as yourself, who is around it every day –

Well that’s because I think its become subtle.

What do you mean?

We subtly talk about mental illness and mental health – we throw around little jokes here and there and we tend to not take it as seriously. And I guess to the average every day person who may not have to deal with any mental health issues, it kind of separates themselves from what’s going on. They don’t have to worry about it because it’s a subtle issue to them, because we do subtly bring it up in television, we subtly bring it up in movies and it’s a big issue and it does affect a lot of people and when we do subtly kind of blow it off it – it does leave a path of errors in the way that people think about schizophrenia or bipolar or depression or anxiety and people tend to not take it so seriously. So much so that if one of your friends came up to you and said ‘hey I get super depressed all the time’ and someone who maybe doesn’t deal with mental illness all the time or may not have had any interaction with it in their life could possibly just see that and think ‘oh they’re depressed and they’ll get over it’.

Yeah, I see that.

And you know, that’s not always the case. So I think the more we interact with it and the more we can bring awareness to it, then we may not talk so subtly about it and maybe it can be something that we’re all comfortable talking about and its not this big error anymore.

How do you see, not that you have to have the answer, but what do you see the solution to having people interact with it more often or have people have more knowledge?

(phew) That’s tough.  I think it comes down to ignorance, so people talk about – and let me get clear, I don’t mean ignorance in a bad way or a negative way, but people just tend to not know. If someone were to brush off one of their friends with depression or anxiety, they may not be doing it because they’re a mean person, they may just be ignorant to the total concept of anxiety and depression because they may have had friends or even parents that have just said ‘hey you’re anxious, you’ll get over it’. They don’t know the magnitude that depression or anxiety can have on someone’s life. The solution to that is simply to educate people; Instead of putting these stereotypes in television or in movies, I think that becomes an issue with someone. You can look at any horror movie; I mean look at how any any person with mental illness is portrayed – that’s an issue. The way people talk about it in the news: As soon as we have a – um – something bad happens in society or someone does something we’re automatically trying to find something that’s wrong with them or what mental health they’re in –

Like a diagnosis.

Yeah, exactly. And what that does is – well, this person went on a big massacre and he just so happened to be manic and bipolar – oh, this person is bipolar and manic and wants to kill a whole bunch of people, this must mean that every single person that has these disorders and that’s not the case. And I think that comes down to pure ignorance. People just not knowing.

Do you feel your time at Maryville has prepared you for taking on –

Oh of course. Prior to Maryville I was completely ignorant to… this. I was completely ignorant to psychology in a sense. I was one of those people where I didn’t see it as an issue. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, prior to coming to Maryville, it wasn’t something I really looked into or study at all. You start seeing the magnitude of how detrimental things like PTSD and anxiety disorders and depressive disorders can kind of have on someone’s life and through all this education we’ve gotten through the psych program has been wonderful.

Tell me a little bit about your military experience – what was the path you took to get there? What did you do? As much as you want to get into.

I wasn’t one of those people in eighth grade that knew that I wanted to join the military – I didn’t even know that I wanted to join the military until two weeks before I left the military.

(laughs)

I actually told my mom, I had made a joke a month earlier that I was going into the military and everyone was like ‘yeah right’, and even I said ‘yeah right’, I was not that kind of person at all. Things kind of fell through with college and I was like ‘I don’t want to be that guy sitting on my butt at my buddy’s house’ and wind up doing bad things, especially living in South City, St. Louis – I didn’t want to stay in that environment and, uh, you know, not go to school. Who knows what –

You didn’t want to get into the shit.

Yeah exactly, you know, sitting on my buddy’s couch drinking every night of the week wasn’t really my gig. So, I walked into the recruiter’s office and talked to him. Two weeks later I was on a bus down to the Fort. Best decision I ever made – I loved it. I grew a lot as a person and by the time I got out of the military I – I knew the military was right for me, but I knew the military wasn’t right for me to continue on with it. But I did need to increase my education. When I was in the military I didn’t really have a lot of time to develop my education so as soon as I got out I knew I needed to get a college education.

Do you feel like, um, it was five years, yeah?

Yeah.

So taking those five years, do you feel that it better prepared you for going to school?

It opens up your, especially here at Maryville, the thing that I’ve come to learn about Maryville is that it is a very free-thinking university. I have met some the most intellectual people I have ever met in my life at Maryville between teachers and students, having my military side I can bring my perspective into conversation and I think that can be very beneficial for a lot of people. That’s not a side that a lot of people see. I’ve been a full-time student at Maryville for four years now and in that time I’ve had a lot of interaction with a lot of teachers, a lot of students and, yea, it definitely prepared me for coming here and helping me make my mark.

You were over in Afghanistan, yeah?

Yes, two tours.

What is that even like?

Culture-shock. Huge culture shock. I love Afghanistan. I think you’ll meet a lot of people that will have their differences, and don’t get me wrong, I was in a really bad part of Afghanistan my first tour, but even in that sense, you can get a grasp of their true culture was there. There wasn’t people that hated us. It was people that, obviously, didn’t like fighting going on in their country. If we had fighting here in America, people wouldn’t like it either.

Totally.

People may like it in the sense that they understand that we would have to fight to get our country back but these people in Afghanistan definitely wanted the best in their country and you could tell in their culture. I loved Afghanistan, absolutely beautiful. We had the war aspect to it, and that’s not a pretty thing at all, but that’s…. that’s… that’s just war I guess. Its not a pretty thing at all. But emotionally it helped me grow, as a person it helped me grow. When I first went to Afghanistan at 18 years old, for sure there was this ethnocentric mindset where you go to a new country that’s definitely not like America at all. I’ve been to England, Europe, and a lot of those countries have very similar values to the United States. You go to the Middle East, it’s a lot different and people fall into this mindset of ‘why are they doing things like this?’ or ‘can we talk to them like this?’ and it took a little bit to get culturalized and be able to realize that this is the way they are and then be able to work with them because at the end of the day, we’re in their country. So not only did it help me emotionally, but it helped me come into Maryville as a more mature, more culturally diverse person.

fullsizerender-jpg-2

How’d you find Maryville?

I found Maryville my senior year of high school. Me and a couple of my buddies went to different schools and we came here. When I was 18, it was like a six-to-one ratio from girls to guys. (laughs) And at 18 years old you’re like this is awesome. But when I was 18 years old, I couldn’t really afford to do anything outside of community college. So when I was 23 and out of the military I started applying to a bunch of different universities and Maryville was the best.

So, big tattoo.

Yeah, I have an entire sleeve.

What’s it mean to you? What’s the story? I’ve wondered for a few years…

(chuckles) Secret of the tattoo man. So, I was on my first deployment and I thought ‘damn I really want a tattoo.’ When I got back from Afghanistan and I was like ‘what do I want to get a tattoo of?’ and I realized I loved beta fish, so I got some beta fish. People always try to find deeper meanings like ‘oh it’s a Japanese fighting fish’, to be honest I just really like fish. I think it looks cool. I had about five different artists that worked on my sleeve, three guys from Colorado and two guys from here. Just kind of pieced together with, stuff, um, the Philippians 4:13 verse on my arm is probably the only tattoo, besides the Buddha on my leg, well that was the last text message I got before I deployed so I thought that was sentimental to have on my arm. It just kind of pieced it all together, there’s no huge story to it.

No I get that. I think in our age, well, tattoos are kind of controversial at the moment across the board. In our parents’ generation, tattoos were viewed as very, like, no.

Yeah.

Now its in this revolutionary stage where everyone wants to get a tattoo and everyone wants to have some super deep meaning. I’m a huge believer in, like, you can get a tattoo because you think it looks awesome, I think it looks sick. Mine that I have, yes there’s a meaning, and if I never shared that meaning, I think it looks cool enough that I don’t feel the need to explain it to everyone. I think yours looks awesome.

Well thanks man. I got it cut off at my sleeve because I realize that it’s a generational idea, tattoos. Yes, there are 60 year olds with tattoos but its not as profound as it is now. So I knew I probably shouldn’t get it below my wrist so I can cover it up if I’m wearing a suit and even now wearing a long sleeve. I understood that retrospect and its funny, whenever I do wear a long sleeve or something nice and I sit down with people to meet and talk. Midway through the conversation I’ll pull my sleeve up or whatever and people get so shocked that I have a full sleeve. I was working my first job after the military as a waiter at Buffalo Wild Wings. I had an older woman grab me by the arm, she was probably 50 or 60 years old and goes, that’s going to get me in trouble; saying ‘older woman’ about a 50 or 60-year-old.

(laughs)

Damnit. Cut that out. (laughs) Anyways she grabs me by the arm and goes ‘you do know that because you got this tattoo you’re not going to be able to get a job, you’re not going to be able to do this and that.’ So I looked at her and very kindly said ‘Ma’am, so after my first deployment to Afghanistan –’and she was shocked, saying ‘I’m so sorry for judging you, bless you. Have a great day.’ So I was like take that! (laughs). Yeah its pretty cool, I enjoy tattoos. It’s a big conversation starter.

I want to ask you about the girlfriend. How did you guys meet? I met her my sophomore year and she’s very sweet.

Oh she’s incredible. She’s an amazing woman. She’s very devoted to what she wants to do. From the day I met her, she was talking about speech pathology and that’s kind of carried her all the way through. She’s very devoted to helping people and she wants to be able to get there and it shows through everything she does, the kind of woman she is. I mean, how many girls can you say ‘ok we’re going to sit at the house watching Netflix shows’ and the very next day you’ll be out in the woods hunting. That doesn’t happen. I definitely hit the jackpot with her. I actually met her in stats class.

(laughs)

Yeah I know (laughs). With Dr. Nadler, actually. She sat right behind me… shows you how much I paid attention in that class. It’s been wonderful. We’re coming up on a year here.

How does she make you better?

In every possible aspect. She makes me smile more, she makes me enjoy life more. Right now we’ve traveled to 47 Missouri State Parks. That’s been our goal, in the next year visit all that State Parks and historic sites in Missouri. We’ve done a lot of traveling. We’re actually planning a trip right now in February to see the Snow Geese migration. But yeah, she makes me better in every possible way.

What does 2017 have in store for Chris Mendes?

For me? Whew… Graduate, thank God. As much as I love Maryville, I am ready. I am tired of being the 27-year old undergraduate (laughs).

(laughs) I get it.

Especially like sitting in class that one day man, and our teacher was like ‘oh Chris you’re coming up on 30 aren’t you?’ and everyone was shocked and heavily exhaled. Anytime anyone heavily exhales about your age, you know you’re in the wrong spot (laughs). It’s a ride. I’ve always been the older guy. From the first day I’ve always been the one with all the tattoos. I’ve always been a standout at Maryville. You know, being the 27-year old graduate is fine. I’ll graduate, I’ll be working a lot. There’s a solid chance I’ll be going to Disney this summer.

Have you ever been?

Oh God no. That’s like… So I’m a huge Star Wars nerd, huge. I have an entire loft at my house dedicated to Star Wars. Like even the curtain holders are light sabers. Morgan’s family is going down so we’re going and staying on a lake and I think Disney is in the mix for that. They’re supposed to be finished with the Star Wars exhibit… I can’t even describe the shock and awe I’m going to be in.

Let me ask you this. You’re 27 now. In 10 years time you’ll be 37. If there was no limiting factors, time, money, education, where you are geographically, if there were nothing binding you, what would it look like?

Married. Living on a farm with two kids and adopting another. I’d be working as an administrator for Veteran’s Affairs. I’ve kind of seen in the past the runaround that the VA gives to veterans and it is my end goal to be there and be someone that sets policies and changes policies to help people. Happy family, great job, not having any financial problems and helping out society anyway I can. I think that’s – everybody has their own meaning to life and I think that the meaning of life is leaving behind a legacy of your own. So if I can shape society in a way that’s beneficial in the future, that’s awesome.

What would you say is your legacy?

At Maryville?

Sure.

Throw this one in there, this is great. The last two years we’ve worked with, the first year we worked with Goodwill, last year we worked with the Adoption Care Coalition of St. Louis – sorry, someone is calling me, give me two seconds.

No worries.

Um.

You worked with Goodwill your first year…

Oh yeah, we worked with them with donating clothes at the end of the spring semester and that’s the legacy I want to leave behind for POLSE; continue putting on tis clothing drive at the end of the spring semester of the stuff that we grow out of throughout the year. Then we give them to kids who can actually use them. The Adoption Care Coalition of St. Louis has a great store, its called Refresh and clothes are incredibly cheap and they donate and give out so many clothes to foster kids throughout St. Louis. Even after I’m gone I’d still like to help. Last spring, we got, like, 20-25 70-gallon bags full of clothes that we donated. I think with all these new freshman, we could top that this year. Legacy in life? As of this moment, I don’t think we do enough to care for other people. So I try to always lookout for and care for others. I want to be able to push everything aside and be able to care for people. Boom, Chris Mendes legacy.

(laughs) My last thing is, so here’s my thought. In all of my time, I’m almost 22, I talk to people pretty frequently. And I firmly believe that everyone has a story and everyone has things that they hold really dear to themselves. And oftentimes, people don’t get asked the right questions. You know, everyone has something to say, but rarely do they get prompted. So my last question is: is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you wish I did?

I don’t know man, we got pretty much everything covered. Maybe what’s kind of prompted me into going into psychology? I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I came to Maryville, I was undecided my first year. Talking with everyone from Dr. Wideman to Dr. Bausman to Professor Brandt – talking to everyone I just saw that I wanted to continue on that path of being part of something bigger than myself. Which is why I want to go into social work. Right now, I think my life is absolutely perfect. To other people looking in, they may not think that because everyone has their own definition of perfect. But that’s my goal, to help people get into their idea of perfection. Everyone deserves a great life and each time I can help people get there, that’s a job well done.

 

Humans of Maryville: Bill Stimac

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Why did you decide to play soccer at Maryville?

“They were the last school to still be interested in me. Academically, the school is outstanding. I saw the potential in the program and I’m proud of our accomplishments. I love the guys on the team and that’s more than enough reason to have stuck with my decision.”

How has soccer impacted your life?

“Soccer is my life. Every big decision I have made in my life has revolved around the sport I love. I chose my college because of soccer. It has shaped me in ways nothing else could have. It’s given me waves of confidence to take challenges head on, taught me patience and composure in life, and most of all, to find something fun to pursue in my future. No sense doing anything without joy. I love this sport.”

How does it feel to be captain and what do you think of the team as a whole?

“I feel honored to be the captain. I enjoy the responsibility and the respect I have gained from my team and coaches. I think the team is in great shape, with hard work this off season there is no limit to what we can accomplish in the near future. The guys are great, they are what make it so fun. The coaches are extremely professional and do their very best to prepare us as well as possible for each challenge. And the trainers keep us as healthy as possible so we can perform at our highest level. We have a great blend from top to bottom between the players, coaches and trainers.”

Any funny stories you are willing to share?

“I have such a good time being around all the guys. My favorite was [during] my sophomore year [when] we were on an away trip. A teammate and I bought a pumpkin. We set it on another teammates’ bed, who will remain nameless. He jumped onto his bed stomach-first and slammed into the pumpkin. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever witnessed.”

 

Humans of Maryville: Kevin Doherty

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How important was your last collegiate season and did you end your career on a good note?

“Every season has been really important for me, but the importance of this season was apparent because I knew it was my last season at Maryville, and it was the last chance for our senior class to reach the goals we set out for ourselves when we were freshman. In addition to that, there was an expectation among the guys that we do something special this year and I think that made everyone feel like this season was going to be different than past ones. The expectations and anticipation made it even more special when we did make it to the conference tournament for the first time in our history. Despite losing our last game, I think my college career ended on a good note. We all would have liked to beat Rockhurst and make a run at a GLVC title, but the journey getting there, with this group of guys, was one of the most rewarding experiences of my soccer career.”

 

 

*Photo courtesy of Maryville Athletics.

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