DSU international students plan summer, persevere despite COVID-19

In the midst of the U.S. dealing with COVID-19, some of Dixie State University’s very own international students had personal trials to face too. They’ve been dealing with the stress of what to do in a country so far away from their home countries, and now that summer is quickly approaching, it’s time to decide whether to go home or stay in the U.S.

Shadman Bashir, director of International Student Services, said DSU has been working hard to make sure all of its international students feel safe and comfortable going to school during COVID-19.

“In a sense, there was concern in the beginning,” Bashir said. “We have such a tight-knit international community at DSU, so we were always together and we worked together; overall, it went well.”

Bashir said 58% of international students are on an academic scholarship, which shows how well they have been doing this past year since they don’t have to be on an academic scholarship to go to DSU.

He said to help students who were feeling depressed about not being able to go home, the students could always use Bashir’s phone to call family, and there were events planned to make sure they didn’t feel alone.

“We set up socially distanced events for them, and we interacted with them because I always took them out for lunches,” Bashir said. “Anything that was not the best, we made sure that we were here as members of their extended family.”

Bashir said there are many restrictions not only because of COVID-19, but because they are also international students. He said as long as ISS does what it can do within the restrictions it has, the international students feel supported and safe. He said ISS also had to help with students who were having difficulties returning to the U.S. to continue their schooling at DSU.

“Sometimes our students were stuck in other countries, [and] they wanted to travel but they could not,” Bashir said. “We did all that we could, connecting with stakeholders in their country, to make sure they could return for the fall semester.”

Bashir said other colleges in the U.S. have seen a decrease in international students attending their schools, but DSU has been able to actually increase the amount of international students attending.

“Overall, because of COVID-19 in the U.S., international students were down by 43%,” Bashir said. “At Dixie we ranked up 100% for spring and for summer we ranked up 250%.”

As a group, the international students and ISS have learned that even when something is hard they are still able to push through and succeed, Bashir said.

Here are some of the difficult experiences international students at DSU had to face and how they were still able to thrive despite the circumstances:

Reetta Saaski

Reetta Saaski, a junior psychology major from Finland, said she is planning to go back home to Finland for the summer and come back to DSU in August.

“Everything is looking fine, and it looks like I should be able to come back,” Saaski said. “I have to get tested when I get there, which is kind of annoying, but at least I’m able to go home.”

Saaski said flights are more expensive and there are less options available to her. Another thing that was difficult when scheduling her trip home was making sure she understood all the tests she would need to get for COVID-19 and where she would need to get them.

Saaski said when the COVID-19 pandemic started last year she was lucky enough to return home for quarantine.

“I went home, but overall, I was just more anxious,” Saaski said. “I don’t really know what’s going to happen and I can’t really make long-term plans.”

Saaski said being at DSU while her family was still in Finland during the pandemic made it harder for her to be an international student than in a normal year. She said it was especially hard in November when things started getting worse in St. George.

The circumstances added a lot of extra stress about her situation and about her family, Saaski said.

“I’m here, and if someone in my family gets sick and they are actually having severe symptoms, it’s just not that easy for me to get home,” Saaski said.

Saaski said she is excited to go home to spend time with her family and friends even though there are still restrictions due to COVID-19.

“It’ll be good to actually spend time with them,” Saaski said. “Not just on facetime.”

Duy Huynh

Duy Huynh, a junior computer science major from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, said he is planning on staying in St. George for the summer because it is the easier plan.

Huynh said when his family found out about the quarantine last year, they called, worried he wouldn’t be able to stay at DSU. He said his professors had to react very fast in order to help the international students either stay in the U.S. or go back home.

“It was funny, not funny, but my uncle asked to see if Dixie was going to kick us out,” Huynh said. “He was worried that we would have two weeks to get out, but I said, ‘No, not here.’”

He said plenty of international students started feeling depressed since they didn’t have family here and it was a rough change to go to online school. Huynh said he and the other international students were lucky enough to have International Student Services to provide everything they would need.

Huynh said the students always had free lunches provided by ISS and their housing was very nice.

“I’m lucky that I moved here,” Huynh said. “I just feel grateful for that and want to thank them for that.”

Huynh said it is more stressful, but he doesn’t mind living far from his family, though many of his international student peers do worry for their families. He said he is not too worried because the most important thing to him is being able to finish his degree at DSU.

“Back then, all the countries were trying to close the borders,” Huynh said. “The students who want to go back to their country are going to risk the opportunity to come back here and finish their degree.”

Huynh said the most important thing he learned from this experience was that he can truly rely on ISS for help.

“I put all of my trust into this school because they helped us,” Huynh said. “The state wanted us to move out, but the school wanted to keep us here, and that is the best thing.”

A lesson the international students all probably learned from this situation is to live life to the fullest and do the best they can in the moment, Saaski said.

“Sometimes I’m living in the future or the past,” Saaski said. “So now I’m appreciating more of what I have right now and living in the moment.”

DSU dance earns international accolades

By Veronica Robledo

Dixie State University dance students and staff are making a name and place for themselves in an international artistic dance competition.

Jenny Mair, part-time dance instructor at DSU, learned about the competition from her colleague Liliana Candotti, who is a dance teacher in Florence, Italy. Mair knows Candotti through teaching at her summer intensives — courses that teach students what it is like to be a professional dancer — in Florence. DSU students normally get the opportunity to apply for the summer intensives, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students are unable to participate this year. This competition helped give everyone international exposure despite the restrictions, Mair said.

Candotti invited Mair and her students to participate in her prestigious competition Concorso Di Danza Onstage, which means “Dance Competition On Stage.” Mair submitted her piece “Controversial Convergence” for the dance on film category of the competition and based her piece on the societal issues happening in 2020 and during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she used Asian, African American, Brazilian and Western influences to create her piece. This piece was also shown at the faculty dance concert this semester.

“I did not expect to place, but it’s very exciting because it’s like being published internationally,” Mair said.

From left, Malindi Malawo and Abby Fadely dance in Jenny Mair’s award-winning film “Controversial Convergence.” The film won second place in the international virtual competition Concorso Di Danza Onstage. Photo courtesy of Jenny Mair.

Brooke Curtis, a senior dance major from Moreno Valley, California, also participated in the competition as part of the in-studio category, which is the showcase of choreography through an unedited dance video. Curtis used the choreography she created for her senior project. Her contemporary piece, “Searching for a Feeling,” included three other dance students.

Curtis said the piece is based around the movement of searching for that one thing you need most in your life and then how the movement changes when you finally find what you were searching for.

Although Curtis was never able to perform this dance in front of a live audience, she said the live video performance was almost like the real thing.

Furthermore, the video gave students a unique chance to practice dance film, which is a trend in the dance industry, Mair said.

“It’s cool to think that amazing dancers and choreographers in Italy have even seen my work and were impressed with it even a little,” Curtis said.

Both Mair and Curtis placed second in their categories. With many competitions around the world closed because of the pandemic, this was a chance for these dancers to show their improvement from the past school year. Not only did these dancers jump at the chance to be able to perform and compete, they also received international exposure they would have otherwise missed out on, Mair said.

Current, former DSU employees previously employed at controversial troubled youth facilities

By: Autumn Nuzman, Mitski Avalōx and Hannah Hickman

Allegations of abuse at troubled youth facilities have increasingly moved into the spotlight, including facilities where one current and two former Dixie State University employees have worked.

Utah is a hub for troubled youth facilities that have had little oversight from government officials until recently. People who attended these facilities are increasingly bringing their experiences to light, especially since Paris Hilton shared her own experiences from her time at the Provo Canyon School.

The troubled youth facilities where the three DSU employees previously worked include Red Rock Canyon School, Casa by the Sea, Sequel’s Lava Heights Academy, and Diamond Ranch Academy.

Red Rock Canyon School and Casa by the Sea were shut down and investigated regarding allegations of physical and sexual assault against minors. Sequel, a for-profit company that oversees a variety of youth facilities in Utah and the country at large, has also been the subject of several scandals. Diamond Ranch Academy has seen lawsuits citing abuse of minors, including a 2017 case where a therapist was accused of sexual assault against a minor.

A TikTok video created by Jessica Fuller, who attended Lava Heights Academy, to help her search for potential abuse survivors mentions former DSU employees Brian Pace and Dace Goulding regarding Pace’s time as executive director at Red Rock Canyon School and Goulding’s time as program director at Casa By the Sea. The video also mentions assistant psychology professor Nathan Meng regarding his time as a therapist at Lava Heights Academy, Diamond Ranch Academy, and Aspen Achievement Academy.

Dixie Sun News reached out to Meng for comment but has not received a reply.

While Pace, Goulding and Meng were previously employed at these places, representatives for DSU said the university performs background checks on all faculty and full-time positions.

Public Relations Director Jyl Hall said DSU and its administrators can’t publicly discuss or disseminate information about specific employees, but the university does follow established hiring practices such as background checks for full-time employee candidates.

“We do a background check on all faculty members,” said Greg Esplin, assistant director of human resources. “The background check includes a national criminal search, a sex offender search, a global watchlist search, a social security number trace, and a county criminal search. A criminal background could influence the decision to hire a potential faculty member depending on the nature of the criminal history and how it relates to their job responsibilities.”

Tyson Kauer, human resources coordinator for recruitment, said DSU uses a third-party company called Checkr to run those background checks, and the university also uses Equifax to verify applicant information before hiring anyone. He said the background check is not part of the screening or interview process, but once the top three candidates are narrowed down, the background check is implemented. He said he believes the processes, procedures and actions of his hiring committees are making a positive impact on the university campus, especially in regard to diversity.

“I have spent countless hours ensuring that successful applicants are of the highest quality and caliber we can afford,” Kauer said. “I know that we all have ways in which we can improve. I am the first to admit that I am probably not doing everything; however, I will say that I am doing everything I possibly can.”

OPINION | Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan only a band-aid for predatory loan practices

President Joe Biden is working toward forgiving $10,000 per student in loan debt, with other members of Congress urging him to forgive up to $50,000 per student. While I am fully on board with this proposal, it’s only treating a symptom of the student debt issue, not addressing the cause.

Americans owe a whopping $1.7 trillion in student loan debt with an average of nearly $30,000 per student. Is it reasonable to expect students to take on a financial burden comparable to the down payment of a house? Most jobs that pay a living wage require a bachelor’s degree minimum, and it reflects poorly on one of the richest countries in the world that 44.7 million of its own people have to compensate so much just for getting higher education.

Eighteen-year-olds are expected to manage to pay back thousands of dollars in tuition fresh out of high school. They’re out in the real world for the first time ever, and college is supposed to be a new and exciting chapter in their lives. Predatory lenders see young, gullible prey and hook them in with the promise of “you can pay it back later” or “you can pay in installments.”

Navient, a student loan company extended from Sallie Mae, was one such company that used purposeful negligence in collecting loan payments to scam vulnerable students out of more money with astronomical interest rates, some as high as 92%. One New York Times article states, “While these risky loans were a bad deal for students, they were a boon for Sallie Mae. The private loans were — as Sallie Mae itself put it — a ‘baited hook’ that the lender used to reel in more federally guaranteed loans, according to an internal strategy memo cited in the Illinois lawsuit.”

The Project on Predatory Student Lending cites even more cases of too-big-to-fail lenders robbing students of their money through a variety of scummy practices, such as high interest rates, sloppy management of payments, false representation, and high-pressure sales tactics.

So yes, by all means, President Biden should absolutely push for student loan forgiveness, but it’s not targeting the true problem. His Plan for Education Beyond High School cites that six out of 10 jobs require a college education, but what about looking directly at the source of these issues?

I appreciate the lengths President Biden has gone to in order to fix some of this country’s major pitfalls, but at the same time, I worry that continued Band-aids will only give the illusion of repairing systemic problems like student loan debt. The solution isn’t to keep putting bandages on repeatedly-skinned knees; it’s to buy some longer pants or invest in some knee pads.

I want student loan debt to be forgiven in America, but I also want it to end altogether; legal regulation of lending practices is the only way to stop this at the source.

Perfect your portfolio: 5 tips to create a strong online portfolio

Getting a job is seemingly becoming harder than ever. Employers get a good deal of applicants for one position, so you need to stand out. The key is designing a striking online portfolio to catch employers’ eyes.

The workplace has become increasingly digital over the past few years, now more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in the “old days,” college students would send out a paper resume to highlight their achievements, qualifications and work skills.

Now, in addition to a physical copy, students can send a colorful collection of their academic experiences, achievements, and professional skills at the click of a button.

The Muse’s Aja Frost said it is better to show than tell when creating an online portfolio. She said it is important to present your professional development rather than talking yourself up.

Dixie State University’s Career Services offers students a variety of professional coaches to assist students in creating an online portfolio based on their major.

Do your research

Kathryn Carter, a freshman nursing major from Waldorf, Maryland, got ahead of the game when she created her portfolio.

Carter said she had a difficult time creating her first portfolio because she had little help from her professor and had no idea where to start.

“A tip I would give to other students is to go into the process knowing exactly what you want on there and to ask for guidance,” Carter said.

Carter ended up browsing the web for examples of online portfolios and looking at other students’ work to get an idea of what she needed to put on hers.

“The whole process was eye-opening for me,” Carter said, “I realized that this is one of the steps of applying for a job down the line and I needed to stand out.”

Carter learned a lot from her research and also created an online portfolio for her photography.

Compile a resume

Before showcasing your breathtaking skills, create a resume to sell yourself.

Career coach Gina Gottfredson said it is crucial to compile a detailed resume before highlighting your work.

Gottfredson said a good resume includes a comprehensive list of your skills, abilities, qualities and accomplishments. All of those basic elements then need to be transferred to your online portfolio.

Career services said it is essential for employers to know who you are and why you would make a good employee.

Find the website that works for you

Career coach Rochelle Blatter said putting your resume on the web allows employers to find you easily.

“Anything that you put online is live and needs to reflect you as a professional,” Blatter said.

Carter recommends the websites Weebly and WordPress to create an online portfolio.

Weebly gives students the ability to build an online portfolio with modern and unique themes to make them stand out. The website also allows students to connect their website to a custom domain, add image galleries, blog, and so much more. Carter said this is the best site for beginners and college students.

According to WordPress, its free version is perfect for the average student.

Jacob Nicolds, a junior business major from Gilbert, Arizona, said WordPress offers sleek and professional themes, but it is more on the complicated side.

“You have to be well-rounded in technology and code to use WordPress,” Nicolds said.

However, he was able to figure out the site fairly quickly with a few how-to Google searches.

Showcase your work

Every portfolio will look different based on your major. An art major’s portfolio will likely showcase clever artwork while a psychology major will likely publish research papers.

Blatter said designers, artists and entrepreneurs should use their portfolios to showcase their products. In contrast, students in other studies should use social media platforms such as LinkedIn to showcase their experiences.

Things to show off include:

  • Art pieces
  • Videos
  • Written articles
  • Presentations
  • Research papers

Nicolds used an online portfolio to get hired at ZAGG Cell Phone Repair.

“I made an online portfolio when I was a sophomore and wanted to show my professional business skills in action.”Nicolds said.

Nicolds’ portfolio stood out to the owner, and he is now planning to manage multiple branches of the franchise when he graduates from college.

Hyperlink your portfolio

Career Services recommends keeping your online portfolio hyperlinked and up to date. Potential employers need to find your latest and greatest work easily.

“I recommend adding a hyperlink to your online portfolio and your resume so an employer will go there first instead of other social media options,” Blatter said.

When Carter made her photography portfolio on Weebly, she realized her website is only assessible if a person has the full link. She later placed the link in her Instagram bio for more people to be able to access her work.

Carter said that when she is in the process of getting hired for a job, she will always supply employers with her full link to her portfolio.

SPORTS OPINION | Karl Brooks Field, Burns Arena need to be updated

Without a doubt in my mind, the Human Performance Center at Dixie State University is the most stunning building on campus.

The 155,000-square-foot facility has amazing features to it like the Olympic sized pool, basketball courts inside the building and on top of the roof, different floors to work out on, and classes taking place as well.

I’ve worked out inside the HPC a couple of times already, and as a student, it’s definitely a privilege to have access to this building. I can go anytime to workout, go play intramurals, or play sports for fun with my friends.

Since DSU has a beautiful facility like the HPC on campus, why haven’t other sports venues been updated yet?

There are sports venues at DSU that need to be updated, and it needs to start with the Karl Brooks Field:

  • The bleachers need to be renovated to fit more fans inside the stadium. The dugouts don’t look appealing to the eye
  • The scoreboard definitely needs to be replaced since Greater Zion Stadium and the M. Anthony Burns Arena got new jumbotrons.
  • The area beyond the fence by the outfield needs to be taken care of because there’s nothing occupying it.
  • DSU could add bleachers in the outfield to allow more fans to attend games, so they’re not all bunched up.

Every softball game I attend, I’m uncomfortable sitting on the bleachers because they’re not comfortable to be sitting on for a long period of time. When I look around at the fan attendance, it looks like I’m at a Little League baseball game by how bunched up the fans are because of the bleachers.

Karl Brooks Field deserves better than what it is currently, and nobody should be feeling what I feel when they attend games.

The softball program is known to have success since its first year of NCAA Division II play in 2007. Now that the Trailblazers have transitioned to the DI level, the softball program is holding its own by being No. 4 in the Western Athletic Conference, and it still has a chance to climb up the standings with the nine games left on the schedule.

The athletes on the softball team deserve better than what they have currently at Karl Brooks Field and should get the best facility possible since they compete at a high level.

The other sports venue that needs to be updated is the M. Anthony Burns Arena.

During the summer of 2020, DSU installed a new jumbotron and, I’ve got to say, it looks fantastic. The replays are clear as day to look at, the lineup introductions look clean to watch, and it looks professional to have inside the facility.

However, the seating in the arena needs to be updated because every time I attend a basketball or volleyball game, I want to stand the entire time. The seats are uncomfortable to sit in for a long period of time and every time someone sits right next to me, I feel way closer to the person than I should.

Another way to make the arena stand out is by adding press boxes inside the facility for the media and reserved seating. If DSU can incorporate that for the seating arrangement, the Burns Arena will pop more and look more visually pleasing.

I understand DSU is focused on getting other campus buildings finished for fall 2021, but the attention needs to turn to Karl Brooks Field and the Burns Arena.

DSU Athletics is a DI status institution, and it needs to show that by demonstrating to other schools that the sporting facilities on campus are fun and professional to compete in.

DSU softball holds its own against NMSU

Almost. This is the adverb that sums up the Dixie State University softball’s three game series against New Mexico State University.

The Aggies were ranked No. 1 in the Western Athletic Conference at 9-3 as they ventured into Trailblazer territory for the weekend. Since NMSU is backed with a strong batting presence and precise pitching, DSU knew this series would be a challenge.

The doubleheader on April 23 showcased back-to-back victories for the overwhelming Aggies, outlasting DSU 4-9 and 7-10 respectively. These games were not blowouts; DSU showed it could compete with the top team in the conference, and that it wouldn’t go down easily. Senior day for DSU took place as the team concluded its final home game of the season on Saturday.

Taking down the 6-9, middle-of-the-conference Trailblazers three consecutive times in a row was no walk in the park for the Aggies. DSU got on the board early in the bottom of the first and took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Aggies to start the final game of the weekend.

“I think we are great competitors,” said Kirsten Quigley, a graduate from DSU’s psychology program from Othello, Washington. “We’re never going to give up.”

The game progressed with impressive batting performances from both squads as the end of the third inning finished 4-2 in favor of the Trailblazers. As DSU tried to build off the momentum they started the game with, NMSU hit a grand slam, which shifted the momentum entirely to the visiting team. The Aggies brought in a total of five runs in the fifth inning as they took the lead, shifting the score to 8-4.

DSU showed it wouldn’t give up easily and battled back by bringing in a run in sixth and shutting the Aggies out the remainder of the game. As DSU entered the seventh inning of the game down by just three, an RBI double brought in a run to cut the deficit to only two. The momentum shifted back to the Trailblazers as a comeback seemed to be brewing.

At that moment, it seemed the Divison I experience backed up the Aggies since they were able to bear down and finish out the game. A runner was in scoring position with two outs, and the Trailblazers failed to score again, losing the contest 8-6.

“We came up a little bit short,” said Emma Sweet, a senior communication studies major from Walla Walla, Washington. “We knew they were a tough team… but we showed we have the most heart in the [Western Athletic Conference] from this series.”

Overall, DSU almost got the job done, its 31 hits in the series were almost enough, the comeback in the third game of the series almost happened, a senior night victory almost took place, and a victory was almost found this weekend. The Trailblazers are almost in the top half of the conference and almost at the top of the conference teams throughout the season.

“I was really proud of our girls this weekend,” head coach Randy Simkins said. “[The seniors] have left the program better and are class acts on and off the field. Not only the way they play, but the way they treat their teammates and the example they set is big time.”

The Trailblazers have just five more games remaining, facing Seattle University in a two-game series, then Utah State University in a two-game series, and its final game of the season will be played at Brigham Young University on May 10.

DSU staff, administration create plans for fall 2021 semester

As the 2020-21 school year comes to an end, DSU is seeing more and more on-campus events, and you can expect even more in the fall. With an end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic, students can finally expect to have a somewhat normal school year.

Sporting events, more funding for Dixie State University, student activities, and an increase in student enrollment are all things students can look forward to in the fall 2021 semester.

The roaring stampede of thousands of DSU students was put to a halt because of the pandemic, but students will have opportunities to show off their DSU spirit at sporting events in the upcoming school year.

Steve Johnson, associate athletic director of media relations, said the football schedule for the 2021-22 school year has been posted.

Each of DSU’s student event teams and organizations have just begun prepping for next school year, which includes planning events, deciding what will be allowed, and what students will be able to expect next year.

“Looking forward to the fall 2021 semester, we are planning on offering fully face-to-face instruction and in-person campus activities,” Pubilc Relations Coordinator Stacy Schmidt said.

Be on the lookout for a potential survey asking what events you would like to see in the 2021-22 school year, as there is more information to come.

“The new student life team just got appointed and we will be creating our 2021-2022 events schedule in a few weeks,” Student Life Coordinator Sarah Ramaker said. “They are looking to push out a survey soon asking students what type of events they would like to see from us next year.”

DSU News stated, “The Utah State Legislature allocated $15 million toward a campus expansion project.”

This funding will be used toward bettering the DSU campus because of its commitment to student success and the increase in enrollment. DSU was able to purchase 183 acres at the Desert Color property.

Darlene Dilley, associate provost for enrollment management, said DSU is projecting an increase in student enrollment, not only with incoming freshmen, but in terms of an overall increase as well.

“For new, incoming freshman students, our goal is 2,650 enrolled, a 4% increase over fall 2020. For overall campus enrollment, we are expecting to see a 5-10% increase over the 12,044 students enrolled for fall 2020,” Dilley said.

With student enrollment at DSU increasing, on-campus events and activities making a comeback, and funding for an improved DSU campus, the fall 2021 semester is slated to feel like things are back to normal.

OPINION | Shaving should always be optional

The first time I was aware of shaving was when I watched my dad shave his face. In elementary school, I was interested in what the feeling was, so my parents let me shave one leg.

Now, when you’re a third or fourth grader, shaving isn’t going to do much, but I remember hearing then that when I was older I would need to shave my legs.

I was probably around 12 years old when I started shaving. I don’t think I needed to, but most of my friends spoke about it and I was nearly a teenager, so I started doing it too.

I never questioned why I needed to shave, but there was always the fear that if I didn’t, one of my friends would somehow know that my legs or armpits were not silky smooth and had some hair.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started caring a lot less about cosmetic things like that, but at the same time, I still continue to shave. Sometimes I do question why I still care about shaving. When life starts getting busy, the first thing I stop doing is shaving regularly. It’s not necessarily for any reason other than I just don’t want to, or I have other things on my mind, so I tend to forget.

I still shave because there’s that moment after I shave my legs where I climb into new sheets with shorts on, and it’s one of the softest feelings ever. I still shave because I like how soft my arms are without hair on them.

I still shave because it’s what makes me comfortable, but for some girls, shaving isn’t something they’re interested in. At the end of the day, what is important is doing what makes you comfortable and what is best for your body.

If you aren’t sure what to do in this situation, just think about what makes you feel better. If you feel more confident and prefer having a cleanly-shaved body, then spend that time on yourself to feel good about yourself. But if you prefer not worrying about it, that’s a completely valid choice too, so embrace those little hairs because it’s important to love every part of yourself.

Today we live in a world where we start our day seeing how society thinks women should look. We continue to be surrounded by advertisements that tell us what we should use to be prettier.

Our friends talk about what they do for their beauty routine or which products they use.

“Have you used that hair mask I told you about?”

“Have you heard of those body scrubs that have hemp in the ingredients?”

There is rarely a moment in a typical woman’s life when beauty standards aren’t shoved down our throats, and because of that, it causes a lot of insecurities and peer pressure. Many women end up shaving because that’s just what everyone has told them to do.

If you don’t shave, there is also the fear of someone calling you unsanitary or gross. While body hair is one of the most natural things in the world, people see it as unhygienic.

Women and men alike started shaving for hygiene purposes back around the World Wars. This was because men were told shaving would reduce lice and vermin from nesting in hair, so people started to bathe daily and shave often to prevent any uncomfortable bug-like creatures from climbing in their armpits and beards.

Meanwhile, women only shaved what was visible, and as fashion progressed, so did the amount of skin visible for society to have an opinion on, which brought about shaving legs, arms and armpits. It started for men for hygiene, and it started for women because it was viewed as more attractive.

The reason why shaved bodies were viewed as more attractive is because they were portrayed to be more feminine and youthful. As this trend became widespread and accepted, most women didn’t question why shaving was perceived as more feminine or why they wanted to appear more youthful.

In the center of it was companies pushing to sell more products. Hence the beginning of society telling women how to look. At the end of the day, products need to be sold, and the best way to sell is by making you think you need that product.

Nowadays, regardless of where you shave, there will be people who decide their two cents need to be heard whether you like it or not, but many people just want you to be comfortable.

Honestly, if you are a guy who won’t date a girl because she has body hair, maybe you should take a look at what’s important to you. That’s a body, those hairs were put there for a reason, and if you can’t look past a few hairs without cringing, you can go somewhere else.

The most important part of a person is their soul, their personality. If someone is telling you that you have to shave for them, to shave because of a preference that was created by manufactured pictures of women, then let them continue just looking at pictures of women. They deserve just the picture; the real thing is out of their league.

Body hair is there to protect your body, like how eyebrows protect your eyes from dirt and bacteria. Pubic hair prevents dangerous things from entering our bodies and genitals like bacteria and infections. Armpit hair helps reduce friction and absorb sweat, which keeps you less stinky as long as you are washing your body regularly.

If you are comfortable with hairy legs, keep them. Those are your legs, and the only one whose opinion matters on them is yours. If you want to let the wind rush through your armpit hair, hold those armpits out the car window and let your wildest dreams come true.

No one should ever have the right to tell you what to do with your body. It is your body, no one else’s. If someone tells you that it’s gross to have body hair, you can tell them how gross it is that they assume their opinion matters.

Don’t ever feel like no one will want you because of a little hair. If someone really cares about you, they’ll accept every single inch of you and every single hair on you.

Blazing new trails: Your guide to freshman year at DSU

Entering your freshman year of college can be a truly daunting task.

Think about it – you could be moving away from home for the first time, living with complete strangers, having to learn how to navigate around a huge campus as you run from class to class, learning how to balance a larger workload… the list just goes on and on.

Though these tasks can be overwhelming, beginning your journey at Dixie State University does not have to be difficult. Here’s how you can begin blazing your new trail with ease:

No time for messin’ around

Your new chapter deserves a strong start.

Jared Smith, a freshman nursing major from Grace, Idaho, said he learned right away that if he was going to be successful in college, it would all depend on how hard he worked his first couple of semesters in college.

“I got here and I was like, ‘OK, it’s time to get serious, especially because my major is pretty demanding,’” Smith said. “A lot of freshmen take this new freedom too far and slack off right away, but I think a strong start will lead to a strong finish.”

Smith stressed the importance of beginning your freshman year at DSU with a focused mindset, but remaining disciplined doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

“Of course I don’t spend 24/7 with my nose in my book, studying,” Smith said. “I like to go out with friends, go to the events happening on campus, catch a game or something, but I also know when I have to do my homework.”

Professors aren’t as scary as you think

Aspin Cram, a sophomore elementary education major from St. George, said she made sure to make herself known to her professors as a freshman in college because building a relationship with them helps in the long-run.

“Trust me, I know it’s scary, but I made sure to participate at least once a day in every class I had my freshman year,” Cram said. “Your professor will notice the effort you’re making and really appreciate it.”

Cram said once she started participating and building strong relationships with her professors, it became easier to email them with any questions she had about assignments or projects.

“The truth is, if your professor knows you personally, they’ll definitely be willing to help you more,” Smith said. “Professors are human; they’re fun if you get on their good side.”

Don’t add too much to your plate

Between getting a job, taking several classes, doing homework, trying to remain social by going to school events, hanging out with friends, and more, you don’t want to add even more to your plate, Cram said.

“As a freshman, you already have a lot going on, [so] the last thing you need to do is add more priorities or things to do that’ll just stress you out,” Cram said.

Cram said she was met with instant frustration because she worked two jobs her freshman year.

“I literally wanted to cry every day because of all the things I had to get done,” Cram said. “Working two jobs while trying to get through all the obstacles of freshman year was not for me. I highly don’t recommend it.”

Use the variety of study spots on campus

DSU is located in none-other than sunny St. George.

John Sparks, a sophomore elementary education major from Smithfield, said he uses St. George’s good weather and DSU’s multiple outdoor study spaces to his advantage.

“I rarely see students using the study spaces outside, which is crazy to me,” Sparks said. “The weather is great here, DSU is a quiet campus, and those [outdoor] study spaces are almost always open. I think all freshmen could use it to their advantage.”

Sparks said he likes that the outdoor study spots include a table to put all of his things on and a shady roof. He’s able to enjoy the fresh air while being in the shade and is never distracted by anything happening on campus since it is usually so quiet and peaceful.

“The best time to go is around 1 p.m.,” Sparks said. “It’s usually a little more dead on campus since everyone with morning classes has left and the weather is perfect. You can even pack a lunch if you want.”

Put your phone down, connecting is cool

It’s common for students in college, no matter what year they’re in, to walk into class, grab a seat and instantly go on their phone as they wait for the lecture to begin, Smith said.

“I noticed so many people on my first day of class just walk in and go on their phone instead of making friends with the people around them,” Smith said. “Everyone was giving me the weirdest looks for trying to start conversations with everyone around me, but that’s how you make friends.”

Smith said he likes to make friends in class so he can have people to contact in case he misses a class, doesn’t understand an assignment, or just needs someone to talk to.

“Making friends in class is what makes it fun,” Smith said. “If you’re just showing up, sitting in the back of the class, and not talking to anyone, you’re missing out on meeting people who could change your life for the better.”