Housing Experience

After reading Here from our course reader. this prompted a conversation about housing with my classmates at my table. We talked about our current situations and future plans. Compared to everyone else, I got the best case scenario. I live in a suite in the newest dorm.  During my first semester, I had a roommate who I could actually compromise with when there was issues. The only annoying thing was that she would bring her boyfriend over all the time. At the beginning of my second semester, she had to leave and I was left with a room all to my self. I was also told that it was unlikely that I would get a new roommate so I have my own room for the entire semester. I was very fortunate to have this setup for my first year of college. I’m also excited for my future living plan with American Campus Housing.

Around this time of the year, many are trying to find housing for next year. Some are fortunate to get on campus housing near the commons and library. There is also the option to go with an off campus housing company. Because of my experience living in Gladding Residence Center, which is owned by American Campus Housing, I decided to go with one of the other buildings of a similar design. The issue is that these apartments can be expensive and fill up quickly. Being the planner I am, I decided to sign a lease in October while there was still discounts and availability. However, most freshman aren’t thinking about finding housing in their first semester.  It’s only at the beginning of second semester that housing is being advertised to students. The stress of finding home then causes people to rush for the best options in February and March. For those who wait to find an apartment, they may find themselves looking at uncomfortable living options.

From what I have heard, many apartments near campus or that advertise to students have not been very good. Many online talk about bug infestations, mean landlords, or homeless people sleeping in the halls. These are things that people don’t find out about until they visit the apartment or move in. I can’t imagine being stuck on a year long lease for a place with cockroaches running around. Another issue with housing is that its hard to find roommates to live with. In my own situation, I am looking for a roommate based on people who I know. If I cant find someone before a certain date I will have a to live with a stranger. These are only some of the troubles of being a freshmen in need of housing for next year.

For Jordan

Today, I want to write about my dog Jordan. She was my childhood dog of fourteen years. At the start of this year, she passed away. This isn’t meant to be a sad story. The reason why I’m writing this was because of my multimodal. When coming up with ideas for my multimodal, I started thinking about my dog. The stress and sadness I got from her passing seemed to amplify all the stressors already associated to college and life. There would be busy days that would trigger memories of her, and, at first make me feel sad. It was already hard enough dealing with depression and anxiety from being a college student. And then it hit me. The reason I thought about my dog so much was not because of her passing, but, because she was my emotional support. Even during high school, she was there for me when I was stressed. After losing my number one support, I started to feel the full effects of college, including the grief of losing a pet. Everything seems harder now compared to my first semester. I have started to think about how much college plays a role in my mental health. I looked into resources that were available to help me cope with my feelings. Things like counseling and home remedies were recommended. Even now, as I am writing my blog, I am getting some therapy from my reflection on Jordan’s life. I have started to think about how college affects everyone mentally. I can’t be the only one going through these feelings. This leads me to my topic that I wanted to talk about. Mental fatigue is a very real and serious issue that needs to be addressed more. For those who go through depression and stress on a daily basis, most college students seemingly just interpret these feelings as just being tired. Many, including myself, do not use the resources that are made available to us on campus. My goal with this multimodal is to not only represent how we treat mental health issues now, but, to also bring awareness to those who may be dealing with these issues. I was very lucky to have Jordan for as long as I did. She helped me during some rough times of school and life. For those who are also experiencing depression, stress and anxiety, it is ok to talk about it. Everyone deals with this in their own way. I am still trying to heal from Jordan’s passing but grateful for the wonderful life we shared together while she was here.

Food and Richmond

Adjusting to Richmond has been an interesting experience. It can be a struggle sometimes to find things to do even though it’s a large city. One major aspect of my life that has been influenced is my relationship to food. Before moving to Richmond, I would spend a lot of time in the Kitchen. I loved cooking new recipes and using things from my garden. I found cooking relaxing and fun. However, living in a dorm has limited how much time I spend cooking food. With no Kitchen to use, I now spend most of my time in front of a screen. Living in a dorm has also influenced the food I eat.
Being a freshman living on campus we must deal with the swipe program. Personally, I don’t like it. It’s not cheap, not very healthy, and unlikely that you will get through all your swipes and dining dollars before the semester ends. Majority of places that take swipes are fast food like Panda express or Taco bell. I know there are some healthy places like Croutons or Freshii but that would get boring very quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I do like these places, but only eating at the same ten places for many weeks will make you dislike the food. Another thing I don’t like about the swipe program is that it discourages students from trying local restaurants. I understand if people are unable to get local food because of financial limitations. However, I recommend students, if they are able, to explore the restaurants and food trucks in Richmond.
Since I don’t really cook right now, I have been trying a lot of local food. During the weekend I will usually pick places I’m interested in trying. Sometimes I will also ask people if they have any suggestions. Then I will either walk there, take the bus, or just order delivery through Grubhub or Yelp. Not only do I get good food, but it also forces me to explore the city more. It makes me think of places I want to eat at when I am no longer on the swipe plan next year. I have also met some of the nicest people while doing this, especially at food trucks. An example would be Mobile Munchies. MM is a tropical food truck near Harris hall and is owned by a great couple that serves healthy wraps and drinks. The couple loves to talk and make you feel welcomed. Some other nearby restaurants I recommend are Rosita’s taco shop, Pupatella, Hibachi box, and 821 cafe. I am also looking for suggestions for other places to try.

Adults Can Watch Disney Movies Too

Recently I have been re watching a lot of Disney movies in my free time. Some of which I have not seen in the past couple of years. As a child, I remember them being cute and the songs were great and catchy. However watching them as a college student, I have noticed more of the serious themes and lessons that were placed throughout the story. Many of the characters can be linked to having some sort of mental illness or trauma. There are also similarities to historical events or groups in the movies that could only be recognized by those who have studied high school world history. However, the biggest thing I have noticed is the lessons and how they relate to people in real life. Some examples are Belle from Beauty and the Beast who does not want to live a boring life or Quasimodo from Hunchback of Notre-Dame who wants to accepted for his personality and not his looks.

What I like about Disney movies is that they are marketed as family movies and not kids movies. The writers know that older people will also be watching these movies. They add interactions or subject that adults could find fun, thought provoking or recognizable to modern day issues. Issues like prejudice have been used as part of the plot main problem in the movies. Something I found interesting is that earlier Disney movies had addressed very little about social issues compared to movies produced in recent years. Everyone, no matter what age, can watch the movies and get some enjoyment from them. The movies themselves make an average fairy tale charming while also explaining a lesson ether through song or through plot.

One movie that portrays these traits is Lion King. There are similarities of the play hamlet in the story with the evil uncle killing the king and leaving the prince behind. Hamlet is also predominant in a scene where the main character talks to the ghost of his father during a time of sadness and confusion. We see Historical connections in scenes with Scar and the Hyenas  compared to Nazis in World War Two. The movie also talks about interesting topics like finding self identity and dealing with complex emotions like depression. These are subjects that most young children would not even understand or pick up on but adults do. The lessons that come from this movie can apply to any college student. We should not worry to much about our previous mistakes but rather learn from them.

Reflection on The City & The City

When I first got the book I was excited. I love murder mystery stories with lead detectives like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. Tyador Borlu is the head investigator and narrator of The City and The City. He is tasked to find the murderer of Mahalia Geary, a P.H.D. student with many enemies. Her body was found near the border of the two main Cities in Beszel territory. The problem that Borlu faces during this investigation is breach. The best way I can explain breach is the illegal interaction and migration between the cities of Ul Qoma and Beszel. A person within Beszel can not look at or interact with anyone or anything in the city of Ul Qoma. The same applies for those in Ul Qoma in regards to Beszel. If you look at something in the other city, you must “unsee” it. Failure to follow these rules will invoke breach and possible incarceration in breach jail. No one knows what happens to those who invoke breach, which makes the entity even scarier. Borlu believes that someone has breached while committing the murder of Mahalia. This becomes a problem as he cannot freely investigate the two cities without the permission of the oversight committee. I liked Borlu’s Investigative characteristics. Like many great detectives in mystery novels, his curiosity and quick wit greatly helps his investigation. We can also see how good of a detective he really is with the added restrictions breach imposes. He can quickly think up different scenarios and suspects for the investigation throughout the story. These skills ultimately leads to the identity of the true killer near the end of the book.

I also like the setting of The City and The City. The two neighboring cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma are different in many ways. From fashion to technology to architecture, China Mieville puts great detail into how the cities look and function. Ul Qoma is cleaner, colorful, and advanced compared to the dirty and and somewhat bland Beszel. The way Mieville also writes about the cities different groups and history builds culture that may not be seen in other murder mystery books.

One thing I didn’t like about the book was dialogue. There will be times when you don’t know who’s talking or if Borlu is narrating. The use of certain language also makes the text sometimes confusing to understand. It also seemed like the story became rushed after the breach  section of the book. Too many new characters and plot points were added during the final chapters of the book. This made the breach section and the end of the book somewhat confusing to understand.

Protect the Children


Good afternoon, my name is Lynnsey Wills and I will be talking about the effects of the Zero Tolerance Policy, or also known as the Child Separation Act. Imagine when you were younger and were separated from your parents in a foreign place. I suspect you experienced thoughts of feeling scared, unsure of where your parents were, or if you were even safe. Now imagine if you had to feel like this for over eight months and were also forced to stay in awful living conditions. That is what victims of the Zero Tolerance Policy are experiencing right now in their day-to-day life.

We all remember watching the news and seeing the images of crying children, and the number of those being separated increasing each day. There was nonstop talk of families being separated among the US public. Many, including myself, asked “Why is our government doing this?”. And then silence. Whatever happened to those families? Well I’m here to tell you what happened. The Zero Tolerance Policy was a terrible idea and separating these families made everything, particularly for reuniting them, slow and disorganized. However, there are ways of fixing the damage caused and there are even ways to improve our system of immigration.

Now the problem of the Zero Tolerance Policy expands beyond just merely separating children from their families. The current immigration regulations, processes, and communications have also been negatively impacted.

The Immigration system has slowed while trying to process separated family cases. There are three main issues from child separation in immigration According to Chishti and Bolter, in the article Family Separation and “Zero-Tolerance” Policies Rolled Out to Stem Unwanted Migrants, But May Face Challenges, published to Migration Policy Institute on May 24th of 2018. First, there are not enough judges to process remaining children and other immigration cases. Second, there is not enough space in ORR facilities for these children. And third, there is limited communication about the conditions of these children. These three problems, when combined, have made the system chaotic.

There are also the significant psychological effects that separation has on children. As explained by Toress in Immigration Policy, Practices, and Procedures: the Impact on the Mental Health of Mexican and Central American Youth and Families, that was published to APAPsycNet in October of 2018, separation from their family can negatively affect the cognitive development of a growing child. The harsh detention centers where children were, or are being held, have also shown to cause a development of mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

And now, current policies that protect these children are being threatened by the current administration. This is best explained in Background on Separation of Families and Prosecution of Migrants at the Southwest Border that was published by the American Bar Association on June 8th, 2018.  President Trumps administration wants to get rid of the Flores Agreement, which gives children quality of life outside of detention centers while their cases are processed. He also wants to deny due process to migrants, which goes against the 5th and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution.

The Zero Tolerance Policy, as well as the current administration, have done more harm than good for our country by the act of separating families. They have made everything slow, confusing and disorganized. However, there are solutions that are available to fix these problems.

First, we need to fix our immigration system. A simple and obvious solution is hiring more judges to run immigration courts. This will increase the number of cases being heard at a time and promote review of court policies that can improve the amount of time spent on migrant cases. In the document Detached and Afraid: U.S. Immigration Policy and Practice of Forcibly Separating Parents and Young Children at the Border created in resaerchgate in may of 2018, Roth and other researchers show communication needs to improve in regards to those who are still separated. This helps process child cases in a timely manner and informs the conditions they have been held in and the legal hold-ups to their parents to help reunite families faster.

Second, we need to protect immigrants’ current rights. We must protect the Flores Agreement. This policy promises better living situation than being detained and prevents the likelihood of a child developing a mental disorder like PTSD when they are held in jail like conditions. No child should have to suffer in prison locked in cages for having done nothing wrong, just having parents who wanted a better life for them that happened to be in America. We must also prevent the current administration from taking away due process. This is to protect the constitutional rights offered to immigrants who often seek asylum as refugees and prevent the president from thinking he can change our constitution when he feels like it.

With these solutions, we can move towards a more positive future for immigration with processes and structure that allow people to come to this country.

The solutions will not only improve the child separation issue but, will also improve our immigration system. Families will finally be reunited and make migrant families more likely to work with our country’s policies. Immigrant children will also be less likely to develop PTSD or other long-term mental disorders from being detained at such young ages. Our immigration system will finally start to improve after decades of inefficiency. There will be more judges to process through all immigration cases, not just those affected by child separation. And, the system will finally be on a path to becoming more organized.

To summarize, the Zero Tolerance Policy has made our immigration process even messier, but there are solutions to fixing this mess, and our country will improve by implementing more judges and reuniting families. We can create a clearer future from fixing the current administrations mistakes and unite not only the families that were separated but also unite our country with a way forward on how people who want to live in this country can do so.


Thank you.




Works Cited

Association, A. B. (2018, June 8). Background on Separation of Families and Prosecution of Migrants at the Southwest Border. Retrieved October 2018

Chishti, M. J. (2018, May 24). Family Seperation and “Zero-Tolerance” Policies Rolled Out to Stem Unwatned Migrants, But May Face Challenges.

Roth, B. J. (2018, August). Detached and Afraid: U.S. Immigration Policy and Practice of Forcibly Separating Parents and Young Children at the Border .

Torres, S. A. (2018, October ). Immigration Policy, Practices, and Procedures: the Impact on the Mental Health of Mexican and Central American Youth and Families.



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