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Sunday, March 03, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Opinions

OPINION

Reflection

My time at the University at Buffalo has been bittersweet. I've loved, hated, lost, gained, been elated, been depressed and have been every other conflicting pair of words that I can think of. In my junior year, I retreated back to the Badlands, hoping to finish my college career a little closer to home. However, about two months after returning to the mundane existence where I grew up, I decided to answer UB's sweet calls, and I returned. I refer to this period of my life as "The Golden Years." There were only two of them. After I returned to UB, I reconnected with my old friends and found new ones. I lived with new people and was introduced to new situations. I started writing for The Spectrum. I "found myself," if you will. Isn't that what college is about? The time where you can literally make a mess of your entire life, and then fix it and call it a coming-of-age experience? If that's the case, I have totally rocked college, because my life is more often than not a huge, hot mess. However, I really do think that I have found who I am because I have found that order eventually comes out of chaos. For example, I transferred home to go to nursing school (I'll hold for laughs). When I came to the shocking realization that I didn't want that career, my 20-year-old naïve heart thought my world was over. Instead, I took the semester off, got my act together, and came back to UB with an open mind. Instead of being the girl I thought my parents wanted me to be, I tried to live out my own dreams. An avid reader for my entire life, I figured that I might as well pick English as my major. I thought to myself that I might as well get a degree in something I'm good at. Last spring, I started writing for The Spectrum because I needed an English class. Before I knew it, I was offered a spot on the editorial staff and now I cannot remember my life at UB without it. The most important thing that I've learned during my time here is not to try to plan your life, because it's the tiny incidents that totally turn your world upside-down. One example is a tale from freshman year. I was a lost, scared and sad little girl from 400 miles away who was desperate for friends. After a few weeks of hanging out with people who I didn't even like and drinking more alcohol than it was natural to consume, I asked a random girl in Sociology 101 for class notes that I had missed the week before. And the rest is history. Hi, Gill! My best friends at The Spectrum – Adrian, Dad, Shane, Ranlamb, Squid, Jamo, James, Chris, Jake and Steve – I'll miss you terribly. I owe all of my good (and bad) times to you. Also, to the rest of the staff, I have loved working with you and I couldn't have asked for a more diverse and quirky group of people to be around. I have no idea what is to come. And no matter how hard I try to fight it, I know that I can't change what is happening. I can pout, make sarcastic jokes and sulk beneath my emo hair, but I know that there isn't anything I can do to keep this phase of my life going. It hurts, but I'm beginning to accept that even though my time at UB is over, my memories and friendships are not, and the rest of my life is just beginning. After all, it's called "commencement" for a reason (I'll attribute that quote when you cut your hair). There are a lot of things that I'm going to miss and there are a lot of things that I'm looking forward to. But I think the main point is not to dwell on what could have been or what might be; I'm just going to let my life take me where it wants to go, no matter how messy it may be. E-mail: rachel.lamb@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

The end of the beginning

Well, here we are. My series finale, last episode, conclusion, end, fin. It's hard to describe the feelings that have been going through my head the last few weeks, and the flood of emotions that have been contained by a force weaker than New Orleans' levees. There is no doubt in my mind that the person who drove up to UB in a blue '05 Ford Escape three summers ago is not the same lanky, scruffy-haired kid with a somewhat overbearing personality who will be walking across the stage May 9. Nope, there have been more than a few detours and bumps in the road to get to this point. I've found myself, lost myself and found myself again. I've embraced my passion, pushed it away and gone crawling back to it like an unfaithful lover. I fell in love (twice), lust a thousand and one times more than that, and in chocolate a million times more when none of the above worked out. I've learned what it means to be a friend, and what it means for someone to be a friend to you. I've embraced the joy that comes with being around people that love you and truly care as well as the miseries of friendships that are one-sided, shallow and superficial. That being said, I am grateful today to be completely surrounded by the former. It has been a privilege to have worked with some of the best professors in English academia today – my thanks and regards go out to Professors Young and Bono in particular, and Professors Milletti and Antastasopoulos for the invaluable help with making me a better writer. It's also been a privilege to work at the best darn student publication on this campus – The Spectrum. A place I thought in the beginning would be a dreary obligation has become my rock, my home and my anchor. The beautiful, impassioned, intelligent and witty women I have had the pleasure of working closest with have given me some of the most memorable of good days, and gotten me through more than a few of the terribly bad ones. It would be a sin for me to bid UB and Buffalo farewell without giving recognition to the extremely unique living situations I've found myself in during my time here. To all of you crazy people I have had the pleasure of cohabitating with, thanks for the memories – and the stories. Don't be surprised if you see a few in the novel I plan to write one of these days. And of course, what kind of graduate would I be if I didn't give a shoutout to my most constant companion, my bipolar, temperamental dearest of dears and the most consistent woman in my life … the city of Buffalo. It's true we've been on and off more than Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, but I think in our time together we've grown quite fond of each other. Sure, she's not the prettiest girl on the block, or the most sophisticated, but Buffalo is without a doubt a place with heart. Ask any of the wonderful people I've met who grew up here and wouldn't live anywhere else. The winters may be cruel and certain parts of the city a little scary, but an afternoon on Elmwood Avenue gorging yourself at one of the local restaurants is an experience that is second to none. Looking through my volumes of diaries and pages of Facebook photo albums over the past three years, I realize that despite my rocky beginning and miserably dramatic middle, I have, in the end, managed to have a pretty good life here at UB. I'm leaving this university happier than I've ever been before and looking forward to a wonderful future full of many opportunities. There can never be enough words to express how grateful I am to this campus for giving me a real start in life; it makes all the years I lived in darkness almost worth it. Now, however, it's time to make the change, move on and recreate myself for the next chapter. Some people seem to think that college graduation means the end of something great, a meaningless milestone between high school, marriage and death. I disagree. For me, graduation is only the beginning of something greater. I don't know about anyone else, but I fully intend on having fun, enjoying life and staying fabulous, whether I'm travelling the world, earning my Ph.D. or raising a gaggle of children. All of which is on the agenda, in due time, of course. The end is near, everyone. And I'm ready for the next step. E-mail: shane.fallon@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

It's been real

I've always hated it when people say, "Our lives are just beginning," because at this point, my life has been well underway for the past 22 years.


OPINION

"Holy no-future, Batman"

Remember when we were eight years old and couldn't wait to hit double digits? Then when you finally did, getting your driver's license seemed light years away, but you literally ached for the day to come?


OPINION

Students need to be invested in UB

My name is Jennifer Lewis, and I am a graduating senior at UB. This school year, I have served as one of your elected student delegates to the SUNY Student Assembly. In this final issue of The Spectrum, I wanted to tell you about what my experience has been like as a UB student.


OPINION

Thank you and goodbye

It's been five years since I left Wilson High School and went on to higher education. At times it's been the longest, most tedious challenge I've ever faced – and I've almost given up. Other times, it's the most fast paced, fun and exciting time of my life and I never want it to end.


OPINION

The end of the beginning

Well, here we are. My series finale, last episode, conclusion, end, fin. It's hard to describe the feelings that have been going through my head the last few weeks, and the flood of emotions that have been contained by a force weaker than New Orleans' levees. There is no doubt in my mind that the person who drove up to UB in a blue '05 Ford Escape three summers ago is not the same lanky, scruffy-haired kid with a somewhat overbearing personality who will be walking across the stage May 9. Nope, there have been more than a few detours and bumps in the road to get to this point. I've found myself, lost myself and found myself again. I've embraced my passion, pushed it away and gone crawling back to it like an unfaithful lover. I fell in love (twice), lust a thousand and one times more than that, and in chocolate a million times more when none of the above worked out. I've learned what it means to be a friend, and what it means for someone to be a friend to you. I've embraced the joy that comes with being around people that love you and truly care as well as the miseries of friendships that are one-sided, shallow and superficial. That being said, I am grateful today to be completely surrounded by the former. It has been a privilege to have worked with some of the best professors in English academia today – my thanks and regards go out to Professors Young and Bono in particular, and Professors Milletti and Antastasopoulos for the invaluable help with making me a better writer. It's also been a privilege to work at the best darn student publication on this campus – The Spectrum. A place I thought in the beginning would be a dreary obligation has become my rock, my home and my anchor. The beautiful, impassioned, intelligent and witty women I have had the pleasure of working closest with have given me some of the most memorable of good days, and gotten me through more than a few of the terribly bad ones. It would be a sin for me to bid UB and Buffalo farewell without giving recognition to the extremely unique living situations I've found myself in during my time here. To all of you crazy people I have had the pleasure of cohabitating with, thanks for the memories – and the stories. Don't be surprised if you see a few in the novel I plan to write one of these days. And of course, what kind of graduate would I be if I didn't give a shoutout to my most constant companion, my bipolar, temperamental dearest of dears and the most consistent woman in my life … the city of Buffalo. It's true we've been on and off more than Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, but I think in our time together we've grown quite fond of each other. Sure, she's not the prettiest girl on the block, or the most sophisticated, but Buffalo is without a doubt a place with heart. Ask any of the wonderful people I've met who grew up here and wouldn't live anywhere else. The winters may be cruel and certain parts of the city a little scary, but an afternoon on Elmwood Avenue gorging yourself at one of the local restaurants is an experience that is second to none. Looking through my volumes of diaries and pages of Facebook photo albums over the past three years, I realize that despite my rocky beginning and miserably dramatic middle, I have, in the end, managed to have a pretty good life here at UB. I'm leaving this university happier than I've ever been before and looking forward to a wonderful future full of many opportunities. There can never be enough words to express how grateful I am to this campus for giving me a real start in life; it makes all the years I lived in darkness almost worth it. Now, however, it's time to make the change, move on and recreate myself for the next chapter. Some people seem to think that college graduation means the end of something great, a meaningless milestone between high school, marriage and death. I disagree. For me, graduation is only the beginning of something greater. I don't know about anyone else, but I fully intend on having fun, enjoying life and staying fabulous, whether I'm travelling the world, earning my Ph.D. or raising a gaggle of children. All of which is on the agenda, in due time, of course. The end is near, everyone. And I'm ready for the next step. E-mail: shane.fallon@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

Adieu

As the ice over Lake LaSalle melted and last winter turned into the spring, reality set in. I was almost in my senior year of college.


The Spectrum
OPINION

Budget bedlam

It is never a good sign when a school district releases a worst-case scenario for its budget problems. The Buffalo public school system is really tightening its belt this week with its proposal of laying off nearly 700 employees. Money is hard to come by these days and school officials somehow need to close a $34 million gap in its operating budget for next year. It is a scary thought – not having enough teachers to keep class sizes small or enough bus aides to keep kids safe. A better thought to kick around is why districts immediately go to slashing cuts rather than finding creative solutions. The situation is dire for Buffalo – if nothing is done to close the gap, the city could see the budget gap widen to $63.1 million in 2011 and then $92.5 million in 2012. The saddest part of this plan is that it directly targets teachers. Buffalo teachers have been working without a pay raise in nearly three years and have without a contract for five. School board officials have proposed some creative solutions to help mitigate the loss of so many personnel, such as televised lectures, school closures and even renegotiating leases on property. Televised lectures may work in college, but not high school. Professors have enough difficulty getting students to keep up with lectures – how will 17-year-olds react when they no longer have to go to school? They won't. Other proposals could have merit, such as school closures, but only when done in a clear, logical way. It is possible that the public school system could use some downsizing. When a city has 46 different elementary schools, compared to 13 high schools, resources are spread out. By consolidating schools, the administration will allow for better teacher concentration and, quite possibly, having two teachers in larger classrooms. This, in turn, will allow the state to focus funding to give the remaining schools larger budgets. District officials will also be negotiating with the teacher's union as well. But union negotiations can turn ugly very quickly. Not to mention that teachers will be hesitant to begin paying for 20 percent of their health insurance and give back $19 million, as the plan calls for. Many teachers and administrators are dealing with similar issues across the country. Maybe it is time for creative solutions. There has been a long debate over whether or not states should legalize and tax gambling. Estimates have pegged illegal sports betting at $80 to $380 billion per year in the United States alone, according to a study done by Forbes Magazine in 2003. If other countries, like the United Kingdom and Australia, regulate betting, why shouldn't the United States? If only half of the illegal bets were to be placed legally, that could mean a new $12 billion industry, according to the same Forbes study. States would no longer have to worry about money. But sadly, it doesn't seem like any politician wants to actually find out the benefits. Instead, cutting from future generations' education seems like a better idea.


OPINION

Funding failure

I've had an epiphany. When I was younger, I would complain daily about how I hated my school and everything about it. My mom used to tell me that someday, I would really appreciate the school that I attended and the people who were there with me. Well, as much as I hate to admit it (really, I hate it), I guess she was right. I realize now that I was lucky to be a student in the school district that I attended for most of my teenage years. Growing up, my parents always wanted me to attend small, intimate schools where the teachers actually cared about their students and the class sizes were no bigger than 15 to 20 students. I had every opportunity available to me during elementary, middle and high school. Whether it was drama club or joining the volleyball team, I had the chance to do it all – and I took advantage of it. I was lucky enough to attend a school system that invested thousands into building a new high school for its 300 students, added a pool to the gym, and built a truly incredible addition to its elementary school. I was taught by the same teachers throughout my middle and high school years, and was able to develop a relationship with them that I don't think many people can say they had the chance to do. (I used to drink juice boxes and take naps at my English teacher's desk during class.) And with all that was provided to me at school, I never once thought about where the money came from to fund it all – until now. According to an article that was published on Tuesday in the New York Times, educational funding has never been as bad as it is today. On Monday during an interview, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, estimated that state budget cuts put 100,000 to 300,000 public school jobs at risk for termination. He stated that the nation was undergoing an "educational catastrophe." "Districts in California have pink-slipped 22,000 teachers. Illinois authorities are predicting 17,000 public school job cuts. And New York has warned nearly 15,000 teachers that their jobs could disappear in June," the article said. And the cuts don't stop there. According to the article, the American Association of School Administrators conducted a survey and found that nine out of 10 superintendents expect to lay off their employees this fall. And sooner than you'd think, kids might have to say goodbye to a five-day school week. This same survey found an 11 percent increase in just one year of schools considering reducing the school week to just four days because of funding problems. I've only been out of high school for three years, and already school districts like mine might have to lay off teachers, cut athletic programs and possibly eliminate music and art programs all together. We have seriously skewed priorities. According to the article, the economic stimulus bill passed last February set aside $100 billion in education financing. However, states spent almost all of it this year to save 342,000 school jobs (only about 5.5 percent of school positions nationwide). It is estimated that states will spend another $36 billion of the stimulus money next year. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this still leaves their budgets short by almost $144 million dollars. "Is the federal government going to try to prop up states and districts forever?" said Michael Petrilli, a previous member of the Education Department. "If not, we're just kicking the can down the road. Eventually, districts need to learn to live with less." So, why should we care? After all, UB students are currently suffering from a portion of the $90 million of SUNY budget cuts. But, think of it this way – does a 5-year-old deserve to deal with the same financial worries of a 21-year-old? For schools to be required to "live with less" is unimaginable to me. A solution to end the cuts to school programs and the layoffs of teachers needs to be a priority. Education is too important for it not to be. E-mail: adrian.finch@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

The blame game

Let's just blame it on the referees. It's a lot easier that way, isn't it? As adoring fans, we hate to think for even a second about our beloved team's inadequacies. If the referees make one questionable call, they become an easy scapegoat for the losing team and its fans. In Buffalo, we're used to resorting to such tactics. There are many Buffalo sports fans that are legitimately convinced that referees across all sports have an unwritten vendetta against the Queen City. Wednesday night's playoff game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins was the latest addition to the ever-growing sports statistical category of referee-induced Buffalo playoff failures. Although most of the hockey world will remember the contest because it went into double-overtime and featured two of the sport's best goaltenders at the top of their games, many in Buffalo will recall the crucial penalty call during the third period. With Buffalo leading two goals to none, Sabres center Cody McCormick went hard to the net through a crowd of Bruins defenders. He got pushed into the goal along with a player from Boston, unintentionally taking the goal off of its moorings as the Boston player took out his own goaltender, rookie Tuukka Rask. Inexplicably, McCormick was called for goaltender interference, giving the Bruins a power play. With the man advantage, Boston proceeded to score quickly, making the score 2-1. After that, it didn't take long for Buffalo to allow the Bruins to tie the game on a fluke goal by center Patrice Bergeron. The game went into overtime, and despite numerous "did-he-really-just-do-that" saves by Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, Boston prevailed and now leads the first-round playoff series three games to one. Sure, the Sabres had a much better chance at winning the game had the questionable penalty not been called. Sure, we're all getting sick of these tough breaks, and it makes sense to lump this into the same category as No Goal and the Music City Miracle (I'm sorry to those who just cringed). That's too easy, though. Yes, it was a bad call, but it didn't solely lose the game for the Sabres—after all, they were still winning even after the original power play goal. If certain embittered fans insist on blaming the officials, that's fine with me, but I'm sure of one thing: If the Sabres are thinking that way, they have no chance of coming back and pushing this series to seven games. Buffalo's players and coaches need to forget about the things that they cannot control and realize that they have now lost two games in this series after going into the third period with the lead – something that they did not do once during the regular season. They need to realize that if they played with consistent toughness and took advantage of precious offensive opportunities, this series could have been a sweep in their own favor. Instead, they are on the brink of elimination and need to win three games in a row against the only goaltender in the league with better statistics than Miller.It may not be likely, but it's certainly possible. Miller said it himself; if the Bruins can win three in a row, why can't the Sabres? They won't give up until they're officially eliminated. The key is to play mistake-free hockey and remain focused. Some better officiating wouldn't hurt though, either. E-mail: luke.hammill@ubspectrum.com






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