Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bombs, Bullets and Blood

By Jennifer Harris
“My child you are chosen whether wrong, whether right,

To find your way, you must aim for the light”.

If you believe that war saves the innocent, then you should not read this story. But if you do, perhaps you can help someone to find their light. This tale separates my life into four seasons – winter, spring, summer and fall.

A lot of people suffer with PTSD; did you know that? I didn’t. It doesn’t even have to be caused by any one particular incident either. Stress can be buried like a worm in your consciousness as you lie helplessly connected to the womb of your mother, your first Earth.

This is where it all began for me.

In a place that was cold and frigid like a winter season, I was nourished for nine tumultuous months. From streams made dark, bitter and lifeless by a mother who poured her contempt for her failures of life into me; I drank daily.  Helplessly I suckled until I was born loveless and nameless like the family around me. I grew up without any real knowledge of self, or self-esteem or even a sense of self-identity. I took to wandering from city to city like an orphan. My only possessions were, ‘my boots’ (power), ‘my jacket’ (substance) and ‘my hat’ (knowledge).

Then one day, an unexpected event occurred. I joined the Army.

It was like the beginning of spring for me. For the first time ever, I got a real job. I pushed the buttons on the plane that dropped the bombs on the ground. So, they gave me my first real name ‘Bombs’. I even met my first real friend ‘Bullets’. He fired the machine gun on the plane that killed the people on the ground. We had some good times together. We would be clapping and laughing when we hit the right targets. It turned into the summer season of my life. For the first time ever, I had a family.

But then, like all seasons, change must come. And when it did, it came with an unexpected bang that was so severe that my life stopped its rush to freedom.

Now, I am right back where I started. In a place as dark and unfriendly as my mother’s womb.

Will I ever find the light again?

This is my fall season where my story shall begin.

Special Trauma Housing Units

I knew it was him the way my doorbell rang. Three shrill clanging sounds when it should just be one flat buzzing. I parted the curtains, looked out and saw him standing there waiting and I wasn’t surprised. He wore his dress blues uniform, a broad smile on his face and his eyes looked bright as ever with mischief. I snatched the door open grinning from ear to ear. Then I froze. He had vanished, just like that, gone. I looked all over the neighborhood for him. I had no idea where he took off to, but I knew he would come back. And he did.

 Chapter 1:  PTSD

It’s funny how you can get to know someone so well that you know exactly what they’re always going to do. They were that predictable. Take my buddy. His nickname is Bullets and my own is Bombs. We did a few stations together with an M16. The man was so good with a gun, he just couldn’t miss anything. We pulled each other out from some real holes in the last few years. Some of them could have been six feet deep, but we made it together.

It’s just that my time is up and I want to go. In a few more days, I can be a full civilian again and I need that in my life. No more bombs, no more bullets, no more blood, just find a beach and lay back. I’ve been trying to explain to him that we can get out together but the man just doesn’t want to talk. He would show up at my front door every night, ring the bell and vanish when I answer it. I’m on my way to talk to my doctor, maybe I’ll get some help for Bullets.
Chapter 2:  Doctor Hardy

He was 6 feet 4 inches tall. He wore a khaki uniform and had Captain Bars centered neatly on his shoulders. His office had a wall decorated with plaques of achievements and a window that overlooked the ball park. He could see anyone below him at any time day or night. He was deep in the heart of Base Command and head of the Psych department. It was Monday, 8:00am and he sat behind his big wooden desk ready for work. He opened his window before preparing to look at the manila folder in his hands. Briefly, he looked at the people on the ground before turning to read. For quite some time, he made only sipping sounds from his steaming cup of hot coffee. Then he reached for his phone. It rang once and a woman answered,
“Yes Doctor?”
“Is the poem his?”
“Yes Doctor?”
“His life story in a poem?”
“Yes Doctor”.
He put the phone down and pushed the intercom to the CCTV in the waiting room.
“Come in Sergeant”.

Chapter 3:  My poem

I opened the brass door and walked in with my cap in my hand. The Captain actually stood up, came around the desk and greeted me. He grasped my shoulders with strong hands.
“Good of you to come by Sergeant. How are you?”
“Fine Sir”.
“How was your treatment?”
“Excellent Sir”.
“Good. Sit down Sergeant, sit down”. He released me and turned away.
I sat in one of the leather chairs facing him and looking out the window. Captain Hardy sat behind his desk for a moment. He picked up a pen as if to write then put it down and said,
“Sergeant, good soldiers are hard to find and even harder to let go of”.
He opened the manila folder and flipped through a couple pages. He pulled out three and laid them in front of him.

From where I sat I could see he had my poem. My life story. In a flash, I remembered clearly what I wrote and my head bowed slowly. The Captain saw the movement and said firmly,
“You are very talented Sergeant. Before I sign off on your discharge papers, I was hoping you would read your poem for me. I understand that it’s from the time of your birth up until now”. He handed the three pages to me and sat back to listen.
“Of course Sir”.

Chapter 4:  So I did.
I felt it really like a tightening, a tension,

It was hard to explain even hard to mention,

Of course I was still too young to understand,

I was in her womb, unformed and unplanned.

I was spoiling things for her; her life, her dream,

Her hatred nourished me like a stream,

With no sense of time I just lingered on,

Then in a moment I was born.

She pushed me, pushed me out from her,

I screamed from pain, then, she was a blur,

She relaxed in relief while I started crying,

From then until sixteen I felt like dying.

She spent her time always on her other children,

There was nothing for me; no family, no friend,

I went to her one day as they were talking,

My mind was made up while I was out walking.

"I'm leaving!” I said. I was done being a fool,

My hanging around would just be cruel,

"I'm going into town while the place is still bright".

"You'll find your way," she said, "just aim for the light".

So I did.

I took my boots, I took my jacket and I took my hat,

I headed off to where the city was at,

It was twenty miles by foot away from here,

Nonetheless, I had no doubt that I would get there,

I sheltered by some trees when it started to get dark,

Next day I kept on walking through the park,

After a while I finally entered the town,

When I did I got a job with a man called Brown.

He had a food store so I got something to eat,

I stayed at his house, I didn't live on the street,

He did things for me and I did things for him,

When I turned eighteen I left on a whim,

I took my boots, took my jacket, took my hat and was gone,

I told Mr. Brown that I had to move on.

I followed the street; I had no load to carry,

I didn't look back even when I joined the Army.

Sergeant Stone said, "Go on touch that bomb."

My hand tingled before it went numb.

I felt it really like a tightening, a tension,

It was hard to explain, even hard to mention,

He said, "You'll know when the target is right,"

"Just push the button as you aim for the light."

So I did.

Now they call me ‘Bombs!’ I'm the best they've got,

I've got a friend called 'Bullets' cause his hand is real hot,

He could line ten men up against the tallest wall

And shoot their heads off. We clap when they fall.

When I turned twenty-one my Sergeant pulled me to the side,

They were going on a mission, I was chosen for the ride,

He said, "Your target's a hideout." I hit a school instead,

At the end of the count thirty children were dead,

He said, "We take orders then we follow through,

We shoot bullets, drop bombs there's nothing else we can do."

It happened more than once no one took the blame,

The longer I stayed 'Bombs' became my only name.

'Bullets' was okay he just seemed to settle in,

As the years went by he did everything with a grin.

He said it was, "…his job" to pull the trigger,

I didn't expect he'd kill himself. So, go figure.

He stuck his gun in his mouth and smiled goodbye,

It took years but now I don't even ask why.

They shipped me to a hospital 'cause I couldn't go to sleep,

When they let me out I bought a car that was cheap,

I took my boots, took my jacket, took my hat and took flight,

All I wanted to do was to aim for the light.

Chapter 5:  My buddy ‘Bullets’

The room went silent at the last line but the words hung in the air. Captain Hardy sat back as I leaned forward and laid the pages gently on his desk. He picked them up and glanced quickly through the poem then, he raised his head and repeated quietly at me,
“Good soldiers are hard to find and even harder to let go of”.
“Yes Sir”.
“Bullets was a good soldier”.
“Yes Sir”.
“But now we’ve got to let him go correct?”
“Yes Sir”.
“You’re a good soldier also Sergeant. I believe that you can let this one go and move on”.
“Yes Sir”.
“Very well Sergeant. Your discharge papers are at the front desk, you’re dismissed”.
“Thank you Sir”.
Chapter 6:  Discharge

The administrative clerk smiled broadly at me as I signed off for my package. It was almost her quitting time so I asked,
“Going anywhere after work?”
“Take a ride in my car”.
“Sure. Where are we going?”
“Well, we could pick up my buddy Bullets and just aim for the light?”
“Yeah. That’s a plan”.

I walked to the car and sat down to wait for her. I started thinking that I hope Bullets doesn’t mind the extra company for tonight. And I just started laughing because they all think he’s dead but only I know differently.

The End                                                     

Yellow Zone

By: Jennifer Harris

July 2, 2015: Thursday. That morning the sky was clear, the weather was perfect and the sun was in its summer robes. The last few nights, firecrackers were exploding all over the land in anticipation of Independence Day. Loud bangs, bright colors and a flash, preceded children’s squeals, the smell of gunpowder and adults shouting gleefully, “Yeah look, look!”

 As I drove to Main Campus that day the echo of the bangs and the smell of the rancid gunpowder started me thinking; is Trident Technical College prepared for a terrorist attack? I am not into fear, I am into knowledge because knowledge is key to survival. And also because, Trident Times keeps up with the times to bring you up to date info.

I knew exactly where I should start.

Public Safety: Building 100: Office of Lieutenant Locklair.

Lieutenant Locklair, second in Command of Public Safety, waved me into his office.  He shook my hand and offered me a chair. I thanked him for seeing me and got straight to the point.

JH: “Lieutenant, what measures are in place for a terrorist attack on our campus?”

LtLo: “I’m very happy to help raise awareness. Generally, these are lone individuals, maybe a small group, and they have issues that they want to play out in public for whatever reasons. We call this a domestic threat of terrorism. On all TTC campuses we have 24 hour security in place.”(he paused to look at me) then said, “Do you know that Dylan Roof , the one responsible for the attack in Charleston, was heading to CofC but changed his mind when he saw the presence of Public Safety officials?”

JH: “No, I did not know that!”

LtLo: “He was. I’ve been a part of policing for 19 years and here’s what I can share with you. Our police departments have linked up with all the campuses and other organizations. We’re training for increased vigilance and quick responses. Our eyes are open for any unusual activity, any unusual comments and any unusual object. We’ve strengthened communications with all the student activity departments.  But, we need students and /or anyone connected to the campus to be engaged in watchfulness. No police force can succeed without public support”.

JH: “Lieutenant, what should we do in the event of an attack?”

LtLo: “We’ve got some posters throughout the school so everyone knows the drill. Step (1): Run (do not panic. If you see the attacker, run away as far as you can). Step (2): Hide (find a room with no glass windows or glass walls and lock yourself in it or run off the campus). Step (3): Fight (for your life! No one says you should be a hero / heroine but if the attacker is close enough and is threatening your life, fight). Every public safety department provides an escort service for students and staff. When security is on campus we share the same goals as those attending. We want to make sure that you get the best education. You may have a ‘yellow zone’. (That’s when you need to leave somewhere but no one is around. You’re wondering is it safe to go but you don’t want to take a chance). If for any reason anyone feels threatened they should call us day or night”. Public Safety – 843-574-6052 / 6053

We spoke for quite a bit. Before I left, he shared the experience of when they had to remove a student from campus because he brought a firearm to class! Public Safety only found out after a concerned classmate spoke up. A great example of NYC’s “See Something Say Something” policy.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Car Care Basics

By: Levena Lindahl

Much as I hate to admit it, the summer is winding down quickly, and that means a lot of students are gearing up to head back to school.  For some students, that means cramming a lot of things into their car and heading back to dorms or into new apartments near their college.  Before heading out, here are some really easy car care things you can do yourself before you hit the road.
Windshield Wipers

Ah, windshield wipers, the unsung heroes of letting you see out of your car safely during inclement weather.  Did you know they should be replaced once a year?  Most wipers cost around $10-$20 dollars, and it’s a process of about 15 minutes to change them.  You lift them up and the blades snap off and on.  That’s it.  Pretty easy, yeah?

Do you have a spare tire in your car?  You should. You should also check to make sure that it is usable, and properly inflated. Keeping an air pump in your car, like the handy compressor that comes with a can of Fix-a-Flat, is a great way to keep your tires in tip top condition.  The Fix-a-Flat is also useful for when you run over a nail or other debris.

If you have an older car, I bet you have noticed that your headlights have gotten cloudy.  This affects how well you can see, and that is both not good and easy to fix.  Go to any car care store of your choice, and buy some headlight cleaner.  It’s not too expensive, and in ten minutes your headlights can look like new, giving you full use of your headlights again.
Air filters

These cost around $10, and in 10 minutes you can replace your filter with no tools.  It’s important to change your filters once or twice a year to keep your fuel efficiency at its best.  When your air filter is dirty, it makes your engine work harder and burn more gas.  This fix saves you money and lets your engine have a break.
Those are some really easy things you can do to keep your car roadworthy, and safe.  So before you head out to go back to class, spend an afternoon with your car, do some easy maintenance, and your car will thank you. 

Summer Safety Tips!

By: Levena Lindahl

I don’t know about where you live, but this summer has been HOT down here in Charleston.  With August coming with more heat, here are some safety tips for when you are out and about, whether for picnics or for vacation.
Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is what happens when you dehydrate and are out in the heat past the point of heat exhaustion.  Water is your best friend to help combat this, combined with a drink with electrolytes between bottles of water.  Signs of heat stroke include: cramping, sweating, hot, dry, red skin, rapid pulse, headache, confusion, and dizziness.  If you or someone you are with are showing these signs, it is important to get to a place to cool off!  Use wet towels or ice packs to help the body cool down while offering water to replace the fluids lost in sweat.

Being from the frozen North, I have pretty pale skin most of the time, and I am always the first one to get sunburnt.  When you know you will be out in the sun for a while, lather up!  Make sure your sunscreen says broad spectrum to protect from both UVB and UVA rays with at least a SPF of 15.  (I myself use a 50 or better, but again, I burn like it’s my job.)  Make sure you apply your sunscreen of choice 15-30 minutes before you head outside or into the water, and reapply every hour or two.  If you do get burned, drink lots of water, as it will help get you rehydrated, which your skin will need.  Cool towels or aloe can help with the stinging sensation, along with a pain killer like ibuprofen. 

It’s important to know that there are different levels of sunburn, from one to three.  The first stage is red skin sensitive to the touch.  The second degree is a darker, or even purplish red burn where your skin is swollen and sore to the touch.  It’s also really easy to see the difference between burnt and non-burnt skin.  The last stage is the worst, when you burn to the point where your skin blisters.  If this happens to you, it is super important that you DON’T pop the blister as you could get an infection if you do.  Leave it be and the fluid will eventually be reabsorbed, though the burned skin might peel off afterwards.   It is also possible to sunburn over an older sunburn, and that burned skin is more susceptible.  Make sure you heal up before heading back into the sun if at all possible. 

If you are heading out into the great outdoors for hiking, make sure you practice tick safety!  Lyme Disease is carried by bacteria infected ticks, and while it is most common in the northeastern and Midwestern United States, it is important to stay safe.  Wear appropriate clothing and spray a repellant with DEET onto exposed skin and clothes.  If you do find a tick, remove it as quickly as possible but DON’T throw it away!  Take it to your doctor for testing and be on the lookout for a bulls-eye style rash around the bite, fever, headache and joint and muscle pain.

I will freely admit it, I am a horrible swimmer.  If you are heading to the water, make sure you are with a strong swimmer if you are not feeling confident with your skills, or stay in the shallows.  If you are going into the ocean, be sure you understand about the undertow, which can take you out and under very quickly if you are unprepared.  It’s also important to know that the ocean is full of creatures, and while the fish might come say ‘hi’ keep an eye out for jellyfish and sharks!  Pay attention to the lifeguard, if there is one, and be prepared to get out of the water.

Fandom: What it is to me and how it has followed me through college?

By: Levena Lindahl

Fandom has gotten a bad rap over the years, and most people see it as something bad, full of nerds, or full of angry people demanding things on the internet.  I can’t speak for everyone, but this is my experience with fandoms, and how it has affected me both in college and in life. 
Hi, my name is Levena, and I am a fangirl.  (I am also going to Dragon-can soon, and I am so excited I could burst!)

I guess you could say I have been a fangirl most of my life, though I didn’t start in the usual venues.  There were no boy bands for me in my youth, but there was KA Applegate and Animorphs.  I was a book and author fangirl, eagerly awaiting the next book, the next series.  I was on a first name basis with the lovely ladies that worked at the Waldenbooks at our mall, and they always gave me ideas for the next thing I was going to read.  It was the same way with the librarians; every week I’d drag my dad through the doors and disappear into the stacks for an hour or two.
When I got older, I found Magic the Gathering thanks to a cousin of mine.  While I fell out around the Mirage expansion, I still played card games.  I ended up in Yu-gi-oh for a while (Thanks to the anime and my still unchanged affection for that show.  It’s a guilty pleasure, I blame Dan Green.)  I fell back into MtG during the Innistrad set, and had to essentially re-learn the game.  Who were these Planeswalkers?  What the heck were all of these new cards?  I never felt frustrated though, as Magic players are some of the most awesome people you will ever meet.  When I struggled, people offered me help without making me feel inferior.  When I was building decks, people offered me tips or even cards to help me become a better player.  The Magic fandom for me is community, welcoming and fun.

I also will admit that I am a huge fan of anime, thanks Toonami!  I quickly branched out from that limited selection and went out searching for new, better, more and with the baby internet of the time that was an often frustrating affair.  Special orders and I became good friends as my interest grew.  Now, I will admit, while anime has become more mainstream, people in the US still think of it as something for kids, or as something…adult.  There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground in people’s opinions.  Either you are the weirdo watching kids’ shows, or you are the weirdo watching adult- themed cartoons.  While this is kind of depressing, the fact that there is so much more out there is why I still tell people about the shows I watch.  Like vampires and some spooky themes?  Go watch Hellsing.  Giant robots your thing?  Gundam is there to blow stuff up for you.  And hey, these shows often have amazing plots, full of character development and really intense emotions.  I have used these themes in papers before, often describing modern takes on the age old stories of the hero, the quest, or even takes on Romeo and Juliet. 
Anime was my springboard into the wide world of comics and the Marvel and DC universes.  Deadpool was and remains one of my favorite characters ever.  I even wrote a paper for a fiction class about how Wade Wilson is a picaresque character.  (No, seriously.  It remains one of the coolest papers I have ever written in college.)  From Deadpool, I went into Iron Man, Hawkeye, and a bunch of the Marvel Universe.  When the Marvel movie universe started, I was right there with bated breath, anxious to see what happened.  While I admit to a more Marvel bias (Loki! EEE!), I do still enjoy DC works.  Granted, I am not a big fan of the Batman, but I really love the characters around him, especially the Robins.  They were always just so much more interesting to me than Bruce Wayne.  People tend to look down on comics and those who read them, but I find that weird and kind of sad.  Who cares if there are pictures?  Pictures are worth a thousand words as the saying goes, and people can’t seem to look past the fact that comics are pictures to appreciate a good story and wonderful characters.  A story is a story in my opinion.  Is Sandman any less amazing, intricate, and stunning for the fact that it is a graphic novel?  I think not.

I am not the only one who has taken their love of their fandom with them into what they did in school or even life.  Have you heard of David Tennant?  If you are, or know of a Doctor Who fan, chances are you have.  He was the Tenth Doctor, and when he was still in school he would often get in trouble for writing essays on Doctor Who.  (They were like his ideas for the show, fan theories and the like, how cool!)  He was often yelled at for this, but it didn’t stop him.  He grew up, kept his love as a Whovian, and eventually became the Doctor, his dream.  He even married the daughter of his favorite Doctor.  Now, that is some fan dedication.
Well.  This was a bit rambling, but I freely admit I get excited when talking about my fandoms.  It’s a thing.  People who know me know I am kind of quiet.  I prefer to stay home rather than go out, and I typically will find pets more interesting than their owners.  However, when I see a person with a shirt, bag, or something from one of my fandoms, I want to talk to them.  I will strike up a conversation, and I can’t even tell you how many friends I have made this way.  When I started at Trident, I didn’t know anyone, and had no friends in the area.  I felt overwhelmed and depressed; I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day, much less the semester in this sea of strangers.  I was sitting alone in the student lounge, watching people reunite with friends when I saw a person with a DS.  I enjoy playing a bunch of video games, console and handheld alike, and he was sitting alone too.  I got up, and when I got closer I saw the DS had a Kingdom Hearts cover.  (Yes, I LOVE Kingdom Hearts, I own every game and I know no shame.)  I started a conversation, and CJ became my first friend in South Carolina.  Thanks, bro. 

Basically, what I want to say is that fandom itself isn’t bad. Having things you like is important, be it sports, books, games or boy bands.  Do things that make you happy, and as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, I don’t see how it is something ‘bad’.  While there are people who can give fandoms a bad name, get to know the person or the subject before you pass judgment.  Who knows, you might make a new friend, or even get an appreciation of something new. 

Travel Safety Tips!

By: Levena Lindahl
Summer has always meant travel to me, and usually by car.  There is nothing like the open road and some good music as you head to wherever it is that you are going.  With that being said, here are some safety tips to get you safely to where you are going!

Plan Your Trip

I know, with Google maps on your phone it is very hard to get lost anymore, but having a plan is important.  Estimate your time of travel, and plan your route before you head out.  You should also let someone know the details of your trip; this way if anything does happen, a dead battery, dead phone etc., people know where to start looking for you.  (Also, it’s summer, plan for road construction. Where I am from we used to joke that there were two seasons, winter and road construction.)

Inspect Your Car
If you are planning a really long trip and your car is usually just getting you back and forth from class and work, you should get it checked out before you depart.  There is nothing like having a major mechanical issue pop up when you are 500 miles from home, especially when it could have been prevented.  It is also a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car at all times, not just for trips.  Most of these have roadside flares, jumper cables, a flashlight or glow-sticks, and water.  You can find lists to make your own online, or AAA makes a really nice kit.

Car Safety
Cars are a ton or more of moving metal and glass, and you are a comparatively fragile human being.  PLEASE buckle up every time you are in a car, and make sure your passengers do too.  DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.  Texting or even talking and driving is distracted driving, and that is so very dangerous for everyone.  If you can, split the driving up with a friend; tired driving is equally dangerous.  Try not to eat or drink while you are driving either.  And also, try not to fall victim to road rage.  I get it, everyone has said or thought that other  people drive like idiots, but try to keep a calm, level head on the road.

When you are traveling, your car becomes a kind of home away from home, carrying you and your things to your destination.  Make sure you aren’t over packing, and make sure you have a clear view out of all of your windows.  Much like not leaving your bag or shopping in plain view in your vehicle, try not to have your suitcases out.  If possible, put them in the trunk and keep them covered to keep them out of the eyes of possible thieves.  If you are bringing a pet, make sure to use approved safety securing methods to keep them safe and from being a distraction.  Never ever leave pets unattended in a car, as the temperature can and does skyrocket which can cause serious harm to them.

These are just a few basic tips to help you have a safe journey; there are tons more online if you are interested.  Remember, have fun, but be safe on the road!  (And send me post cards, I love seeing where people go!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Heaven and Earth

By: Jennifer Harris
Series 1

'Solar flares, Mood swings and Sleepless nights'

I met a friend of mine on campus recently and we started gabbing away about this thing and that thing, when suddenly we're on the topic of sleepless nights and feeling irritable. "Girl," my friend says, "I've tried everything, even some wine, and I'm still not sleeping well". That's strange I'm thinking, 'cause except for the wine, the same thing's happening to me!

So, I got curious.

Understandably, everything on the Earth and in the air and in the water is coming from further up. I found out that over the past few weeks the sun has been experiencing little eruptions, like pools of built up high energy particles, with gases popping. Solar flares. But why would a Solar flare billions of miles away on the sun be affecting my friend and me here on campus?

Good question.

The sun is everything to the earth; light, fire, energy, revolution, all of these things act as stimuli to our emotions, senses, mind and physical growth. So, it goes to say, that any increase of solar activity will also cause a change in our pattern of activities.

Washington Post, May 6, 2015 headline reads 'Sun ejects intense x-class flare, signaling increase in solar activity'. They reported that it blew a radio and caused it to make an audible 'burst'. Also, all the radios experienced temporary blackouts. So here's how the Carlini Institute explains what we can expect: Earthquakes, Volcanic eruptions, Hurricanes, Tornadoes and windstorms. It will affect the Central Nervous system (stomach lining), all brain activity (including equilibrium), human behavior, all psycho-physiological (mental-emotional-physical) responses, nervousness, anxiousness, worrisomeness, jittery, dizzy, shaky, irritable, lethargic, exhausted, short term memory, heart palpitations, queasiness, nausea, prolonged head pressure and headaches.


I'm certain that many of us here on campus either have experienced a symptom or are experiencing one right now. Maybe you know other people around you that are being affected. Tell them it's OK. Look up, it's just a Solar flare syndrome.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Campus Vigilante

By Thomas Martin

Armed with over a dozen superhero costumes and a determination to help others, Robert Jenkins suits up to inspire the community and promote generosity. All of Robert’s costumes are homemade.

“I learned how to read through comic books ... So I can take a $10 shirt, add some paint to it, add some creativity, and create the things that I want — and maybe inspire a young kid to do the same thing. I don't like wearing name-brand things because they don't contribute to the community,” explains Jenkins.
Robert Jenkins, 55, of Charleston County poses for a picture in his favorite superhero costume.
A photography student here at Trident Technical College, Robert has earned the nickname “Spidey” amongst his peers. He considers his Spiderman costume his best and most recognizable. Though he is quick to point out that the Batman costume draws more attention from the ladies. His superpowers do not include flying or super strength, just a big heart and a willingness to help those in need.

Robert is an activist that enjoys volunteering. You can find him at the local soup kitchen on Friday nights, ensuring nobody cuts in line, sitting in on city council meetings speaking up for the poor and homeless, or eating at Relish Café on campus smiling and waving to everyone who walks by. Robert Jenkins is a real life superhero, inspiring the community one costume at a time.


Hands On with the Automotive Technology Department

By Levena Lindahl with thanks to Walter Varella

            Walking around Trident’s main campus, I am sure you have gone past the fenced off area at the end of the 800 building.  Full of cars, this area always made me curious.  What was going on? Why were there so many different versions of cars and trucks in various states of repair there? And in the bays attached to the building?  That was my introduction to the automotive technology program at Trident Tech.

            This is a really hands on and unique program at the college.  Most people have a vehicle, but how much can you take care of yourself, outside of perhaps filling the tank or changing a wiper?  This program teaches its participants everything they need to know to go out and work in the diverse automotive industry.  Not only are there two associate degrees with day and night tracks to fit peoples’ lifestyles, there are also multiple certificates that include Automotive Servicing, Engine Repair Specialist, Transmission Repair Specialist, Engine Performance Specialist, as well as a Brakes and Alignment Specialist.

            To find out more about this program, I was able to talk with Mr. Varella, one of the teachers and a head of the program.  While Trident offers many programs, I can see why the Automotive program is so popular, and its due to the people who run it.   Mr. Varella is very easy to approach and talk to, and he clearly cares not only for what he teaches but also the students that he works with, talking enthusiastically and at length about both. 

            When I asked about the program, I found out that the program starts in the fall, and that the students all go through it together, making a sense of community and family very common; they’re cohorts.  These are students that will be working together for the next two and a half years as they learn what really makes cars tick, and I was told that these are friendships that last even after graduation as graduates head into the workforce.  Apparently it isn’t uncommon for former students to be able to call one another for parts or even an extra set of hands! 

            To obtain the associate’s degree in the program requires 84 credit hours, but Mr. Varella raised a very good point as to why he encourages his students to aim for it rather than just certificates.  While the certificates are a wonderful tool to expand on skillsets, he feels that the degree program adds in extra communication and math skills that make students even more desirable in the workforce.  He gave an example of when a person takes their car in to a shop to be worked on and asks to talk to the person working on their car.  He asked if they would feel more confident in a person who looked them in the eye and was able to clearly explain all that is being done or if a person who couldn’t explain clearly was a better choice.  That need to communicate effectively is why English is a part of the degree program, and math is included to allow students to break down costs for clients.

            As far as those cars in the fence went, I was told those are what the students work on to build their skills.  Students, as well as faculty, can also bring in their own cars to be worked on.  Project cars can be brought in, with the understanding that the work process will be done over the course of a semester or even two for more involved processes.  The students also put on a car show every spring on the last Saturday of the month.  The 2015 Spring Spin-off car show is expecting three thousand attendees!  Car enthusiasts of any age are invited to come and enjoy a day surrounded by cars in multiple classes to support scholarships for students in the automotive program.

            For a full write up on everything this degree and these certificates can offer you, please check out this page, and if you have any questions stop in to talk to either Walter “Buzz” Varella at 574-6184 or Clint Snider at 574-6725.

Spring Spin-Off!

By Levena Lindahl

            Are you a fan of cars? Whether it be working on them or appreciating their look and design?  Trident Technical College, along with the Automotive Technology department, have come together to put on their annual Spring Spin-off car show that is perfect for car fans of all ages.  This year the show will be on April 25th between 10am and 3pm. The Spring Spin-off is traditionally the last Saturday in April.  (For those of you planning ahead to next year!)

            The Spin-Off car show is going to have a day full of fun, music, food, and awards for the cars and the people that worked on them.  There is still time to register your car in one of over twenty car classes, and the pre-registration fee is $20. You can even register online here!   All the proceeds from this show are going to be benefitting scholarships for automotive technology students at Trident Tech. 

            This year the event is expecting around 2500 to 3000 attendees, with dozens of cars expected in each category.  Come support your fellow students and enjoy seeing the cars they have been working on! 

Spring Spin-Off Car Show

Saturday, April 25, 2015

10a.m.- 3p.m.

Trident Technical College, Main Campus

7000 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston

Cars will be in the lots between the 510 and 920 Buildings

Monday, March 23, 2015

Aromatherapy: Helping You De-stress!

By: Levena Lindahl and Megan Lindahl
Do you love how certain scents just help you unwind and feel better?  The use of scent as a therapy tool is called aromatherapy, and the practice has been around for quite a while!  While some essential oils can be expensive, it is possible to find or even make some of your own scents to use to help with issues such as headaches and stress.  Here are some quick tips to taking advantage of aromatherapy!
Lavender is most commonly used as a stress relief and to promote better sleep. It allows the body to relax easier and get a deeper, more restful sleep. The best ways a college student can utilize this is a lavender candle by your bed at night. The best part is, you don't even have to burn it! Every night before bed take the lid off your candle (I recommend a soy candle as the scent will be more natural), and take a few nice deep breaths in. Leave the candle open while you sleep and put the phone away at night to capitalize on a good night's rest! If you are not a candle fan, try a nice lavender scented room spray. Not as effective as the oils in a candle, but will certainly help put your mind at ease instead of worrying about deadlines. The last good method would be to take a hot bubble bath with lavender body wash. Relax for about 20 minutes with 2 cups of Epsom salt to help release tension right before bed.
Next up is mint. Mint is fantastic at relieving headaches, improving focus and mental clarity, and calming stomach aches. Many studies have found that if you chew a minty gum while studying and then that same type of gum when taking tests, you are more likely to remember what you studied. Mint increases circulation which brings more blood to the brain. It also helps calm nerves and a queasy stomach. Mint gum or a mint tea will help cool your stomach and make you feel less likely to throw up when sick or nervous. It also helps wake you up. If you feel groggy during classes, try adding a few mint leaves and a slice of your favorite fruit to your water bottle. Not only will this keep you more alert, your body will thank you for the extra hydration.
The last scent I would like to talk about is orange oil. Citrus smells have a way of waking up the mind and lifting your mood! College is stressful and sometimes you can't help but be a little depressed. Just the smell of lemon or orange peels will uplift your spirits. The best way to utilize this to your advantage?  Buy citrus scented cleaners so that your kitchen and bathrooms always smell clean and clear. Also, add an orange to your breakfast. The vitamins alone are great and the orange itself will spare you from all the sugar found in orange juice.
Aromatherapy is a really interesting concept!  To find out more about other scents, please check out this link here.