Jake Baekey: Profile on Concussions

Ironically, the experience of sustaining a concussion is something not easily forgotten. Although the immediate aftermath of the impact may be fuzzy because of dizziness and nausea, the months of recovery with extreme light sensitivity and splitting headaches serve as a painful reminder of the traumatic brain injury that occurred. This has become commonplace for SCU sophomore Jake Baekey, who at age 20, has already racked up five medically diagnosed concussions

Recently discovered medical information revealing the truly detrimental nature of concussions has stirred today’s society, and the NFL, into a frenzy. A crucial piece of this new information pointed towards the idea of “quantity over quality”. In other words, the damage of cumulative concussions has become a point of emphasis for the medical community. At the fundamental level, a concussion, or TBI (traumatic brain injury), is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head or body. A momentary loss in brain functionality takes place when the brain itself knocks against the skull. Undoubtedly a serious injury, concussions are also incredibly common, with anywhere from 2-4 million occurring every year.baekey hockey

Despite telling me that he grew up knowing about the dangers of concussions, Jake was unable to prevent them from happening. Living in the Northeast, Jake fit the stereotypical role of a winter athlete, regularly playing hockey and skiing, which happen to be two activities that see a high number of concussions. “I received my first concussion when I was playing hockey,” he said, “My head got punched into the boards and I tried to continue playing but was seeing double so I came off”. Additionally, Jake noted that this first concussion remained undiagnosed for a week or so, and he even played lacrosse afterward. This experience proves how crucial proper diagnosis is when evaluating an injury; something that has shown to be an unrelenting challenge for health care professionals at all levels.

Diagnosis of concussions is a very tricky situation for health care professionals and trainers on the sidelines. These individuals must distinguish between a light blow to the head and a potentially more forceful one. On top of this, there is no way of knowing if the athlete is being completely honest about their symptoms so a near impossible decision must be made. This is particularly true for professional sports, specifically the NFL and NBA, where millions of dollars are in play and each game is of critical importance. The recent onslaught of media coverage for concussions is due in large part to the increase in deaths and early retirements by NFL playersScreen Shot 2015-05-27 at 2.01.26 PM

During our interview, Jake spoke candidly with me about the effects of repetitive head traumas, another hot button aspect of society’s current, concussion discussion. Three of his concussions, including the first, came from playing ice hockey and hitting his head on the ice. The other two came from the same action: hitting the snow while skiing and hitting the water while wakeboarding. Speaking on the main differences between his first concussions and his later concussions, Jake said, “The recovery time takes a lot longer and there are more residual side effects, both during and after recovery”. He went onto explain what some of the residual effects were such as light sensitivity and spontaneous migraines. For Jake, the severity of multiple concussions is very real and proving to have an impact on his life. Jake recognizes the long-term dangers of concussions and regrets having experienced so many at such a young age but his mentality is like that of many people with opinions on the topic: the rewards of doing what you love without fear are worth the risks 

-Peter Burt

From Guam to SCU: Profile of Jaime Lacson

Heading off to college is a crucial transition for anyone going through it. I know I was worried about being “far” from home when I was a freshman, and I only had to drive two hours to get here. Typically, it’s considered pretty courageous to travel all the way across the county for school, but imagine going almost six thousand miles.

10333714_10152546756703689_601279144873021709_oJaime Lacson, a freshman Political Science major here at SCU did just that. He’s from Guam, and island in the Western Pacific about 1500 miles East of the Philippines. Most people think Jaime is from another country when they hear he’s from Guam, and assume life is vastly different there. However, he explained that since Guam is a U.S. territory, most major aspects of life are basically the same. The education system and pop culture are nearly identical, so Jaime is pretty comfortable in every day conversations.

Jaime noticed a lot of little differences first. Being introduced to seemingly insignificant and dissimilar customs can be difficult. In Guam – and nearly everywhere else in the world – men always greet women with a kiss on the cheek, whether they already know one another or not. Also, the rule not to eat until everyone at the table has food is far more strict in Guam. As Jaime saw people bypass these social rules, he started to think Californians were cold and rude. As he’s spent more time here though, he’s come to understand the acceptable range of politeness and is totally assimilated.

Guam on World Map

Guam on map of the Pacific

Jaime says that the most frustrating cultural boundary comes from people assuming Guam is a completely foreign place and nothing like America. Even though the island is closer to China than it is to California, it’s not all that different. “If anything, the biggest effect of my background is the misconception that follows it.” Jaime explained. “Because Guam is such a mystery to most people, I’ve been asked the most bizarre questions like ‘Do they have cars there?’ and ‘have you ever tried McDonalds?’”

Beyond some initial inconveniences, Jaime loves living and going to school here. An aspect of the school and area that Jaime particularly appreciates is the openness and diversity of culture. Guam is 97% Catholic, so the atmosphere is a bit more rigid in its acceptance of religions. Also, with this overwhelming majority comes more religion in popular culture and every day life. Jaime is refreshed by the tolerance of Agnosticism and Atheism here, as it is far more taboo in Guam. By sheer numbers, life is a bit tilted toward Catholicism in Guam, whether it be in the media or just everyday activities. This allows for an open-minded discussion environment that has helped Jaime learn and grow personally.

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Guam Sunset

Jaime plans to apply to East coast law schools in the hopes of pursuing a career as an attorney. He wants to explore different parts of the mainland while he is young. He explains “Guam is such a great place to raise a family so I can definitely see myself moving back at some point,” he said. “But I would
like to spend the rest of my 2’s out here or somewhere else abroad. I want to have fun for a while before going home.” Northern California has been a great starting point for Jaime in his exploration of the country and world, and he looks forward to finding out what’s in store for the rest of his time here. And if he ever gets tired of exploring, he has this to come home to.

–Nick Buccola

Katie Hagan: A Profile of a Failed Vegetarian

For most students, college may be the first time that they have had the freedom to control what they eat for dinner. But most students tend to eat the wrong food. With the stress of homework, studying, and having a social life, it can be hard to find the time to eat a well-balanced meal. Hence, the “Freshman Fifteen.”

Freshman Kati705179_429935870393541_1588985749_oe Hagan had a different approach, she became a vegetarian. At the beginning of the year she maintained a typical college student diet of unhealthy food like chicken fingers and burgers, but she had a change of heart. This drastic shift of lifestyle was not something that Katie decided on a whim; she felt it was a moral obligation after taking a class on food and culture. She was not alone; three other students in the class became vegetarians as well. They blamed their newfound repulsion for meat on a book called Eating Animals, the same book that turned their professor into a vegetarian.

Katie revealed how difficult it was for her to make the transition to vegetarianism. Before this class, she was a classic meat lover. Every day she would eat a chicken salad sandwich for lunch and her parents would cook meals that always contained some sort of meat. “I regret every reading that book, I miss the taste of chicken but the thought of eating it turns my stomach,” said Katie. Against her parent’s wishes, she used her transformation into college as a way to experiment with her diet.

“At first I thought cutting meat out of my diet would be impossible, but I had no choice.” Katie describes the biggest struggle as trying to find a diversity of food to eat. The situation eventually became more complicated by constricting her diet even more. After finding a spider in her salad from the Sauté line, Katie now refuses to go near the lettuce. Her unnatural fear of insects lead her to cut lettuce and meat out of her diet. Sounds pretty impossible right? What kind of vegetarian refuses to eat salad. Fortunately, she found alternative ways to maintain a balanced diet.

On a typical day she eats yogurt with fruit for breakfast, granola bars and vegetables for lunch, and a quesadilla with beans for dinner. Eating healthy comes with a cost though. The healthier selection in Benson is significantly more expensive than the fast food. A slice of pepperoni pizza for example is only $3.99 when a fruit smoothie is $4.95. Katie had to accommodate for this increase in price by buying more food at Safeway than other students.
Becoming a vegetarian in college may seem like an easy transition but there are many unforeseen obstacles. Out of the four students that attempted to become vegetarians fall quarter, Katie was the only one who remained committed to this diet until recently. After a grueling twenty-four weeks of avoiding meat cravings, she finally gave in and ate a meatball at her cousin’s first communion. Though she eventually abandoned vegetarianism, Katie said that she does not regret the experience. It allowed her to test her limits and prove to herself that with the right mindset, she can do anything. Although not everything you set out to accomplish will turn out the way you expect, it is still good to put yourself out there like Katie and try new things.

The Communication Degree: More Than What You Think

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I’m sitting in my class at 9 o’clock on a Friday morning waiting for the next five minutes to pass. This is going to be a big weekend.

It’s not too long after that I’m on my hands and knees taping an outline for the set I’m about to build and the film I’m about to create. Mentally, I run through a laundry list of things that needs to get done. It’s long but I’m ready for the challenge. Like my professor said, I’ll be basically living here this weekend, right?

IMG_6050            It’s now 1 in the afternoon. The sun is beating and it’s more humid than usual. I’m dressed in a ratty old Harvard shirt, a pair of running shorts and my sneakers. Instead of going to the gym I’m making my way through my own form of workout – moving 13 large wooden panels in and out of the studio multiple times to paint.

Fast forward 6 hours and I’m finally putting down the paint rollers. All 13 panels are now double coated with a shade aptly named pine green. It’s what I would want my living room colored as, but after 6 hours of painting, I don’t think I ever want to see this shade of green again.

Walking around Santa Clara, a communication degree is often seen as an easier major. It wouldn’t be uncommon to hear jokes or ridicule about students like me. Statements such as “doesn’t really contribute to anything” or “useless major” are often thrown around, according to Sophomore Makeda Adisu.

It seems that the general idea constructed by others is that classes do not entail as much work as other subjects like engineering or the hard sciences. Sophomore Bioengineer student Jack Huber says that he has heard communication classes are not as time consuming and homework mainly consists of essays and readings.

Other stereotypes generalize communication as the “easy way out” and according to Junior Chelsea Andon, “athletes do it.” Student athletes split a lot of their time between practice and school and often are not viewed as serious students as described by sophomore Deja Thomas.

“I feel like a lot of people that I know that were undeclared end up in comm,” said Sophomore Biology major Jessy Singh.

Another six hours later and I’m finally home. Emerging from the shower, I look back on my day. I’m not even halfway through my laundry list. The weekend has just begun. I look down at the ground and it’s a welcomed delight that my legs are not covered in green paint anymore. My muscles are aching and now uncovered are the battle wounds from moving those panels. I guess my professor was serious about pouring our blood, sweat and tears into this project.

It’s Saturday now. While my friends are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I’m riding in the back of a truck. It’s probably not legal but it’s the first breath of fresh air I’ve had today. Im tucked into a little corner of the bed of the truck and around me is couches and tables and picture frames. The cab of the truck can hold no more people and we didn’t want to walk.

The fact that the hard sciences are one of the harder majors on campus is undeniable. Biology majors are always seen worrying about their next lab report or midterm. However it should not be overlooked that communication majors spend a lot of their extracurricular times focused on projects outside of class. Producing a film or writing an article doesn’t happen overnight and entails a lot of work that is unseen and unacknowledged by their peers.

“It’s pretty much all the this that business students do minus the money,” said graduate student Pia Candalaria. “It’s all the things design engineers do minus the buildings.”

It’s now Sunday morning. The crooning voice of Ben Howard floIMG_6174ats through the speaker system in the room. I’m sore from running around all weekend. My group and I have kept a count and are currently on hour 30 in the studio. We’re almost done with our laundry list but it’s crunch time now. Leveling picture frames and generously spraying hairspray on anything remotely shiny, we’re getting ready for an inspection. We call our professor. He’s impressed by our progress. After checking multiple monitors, adjusting cameras and light
, our set is finally approved and we’re ready for the actors to come in for their first rehearsal.

Hour 40 has arrived. There’s a broken pepperoni on the ground. We decide it’s almost symbolic of our journey in the TV studio. We look at our set like proud parents before turning off all the lights and alarming the alarm. Tuesday cannot come soon enough. After weeks of preparation and planning, our visions are finally going to come alive.

At 10:10 in the morning on Tuesday, I’ve already been here for an hour. Class officially starts at 10:20. I’m running around setting props down and managing the chaos of the room. The director calls quiet on set and you can feel the buzz of energy in the room. It’s magical.

“And Action.”

— Charmaine Yuen

Stephen Carroll: Profile of a Very Curious Person

Stephen Carroll has worn many different hats in his life—high-end clothing designer, Chinese chef and bartender, to name a few—but teacher is the one that really stuck. He’s been an English professor for almost 28 years, 12 of which he’s spent at Santa Clara, encouraging students to be curious.

Carroll began his college career at UC-Berkeley and loved college so much he refused to declare a major, deciding instead to take whichever classes looked interesting to him.

“At the beginning of every quarter, I would get the course catalog, which was the size of a small phone book, and I would just read through the whole thing and circle all the classes that I thought were interesting,” Carroll said. Then he checked his work schedule and figured out which classes he could take based on the times, and those were the classes he would take.

Carroll took a wide range of classes in different departments, including music, art, math, geography, statistics, linguistics, rhetoric, English and history. “I got an amazing education because I took classes in everything,” he said.

Carroll catches up with a former student, Meghan Degnan, at The Hut.

Carroll catches up with a former student, Meghan Degnan, at The Hut.

After two years, Carroll began receiving letters from Berkeley telling him he had to declare a major. He ignored them. After four years, Berkeley blocked his registration, refusing to let him take any more classes until he declared a major. So Carroll declared three majors: rhetoric, sociology and history.

“I wound up becoming a rhetoric major because I got C’s on my first two papers in college,” he said, “so I knew it was something I needed to improve. It was a challenge.”

So how did Carroll end up an English professor? Initially he thought law school was the place for him. After graduating with his triple major in 1984 after six years at Berkeley, Carroll was accepted to Boalt Law School at UC-Berkeley. He’d written a 100-page thesis on constitutional interpretation, and specifically picked Boalt because of its reputation as a more philosophical law school. But after sitting in on a few classes, Carroll realized it wasn’t for him.

“I absolutely loathed the classes because it was all about how to follow rules, and how to follow procedures, and I’m not interested in that at all,” Carroll said. “I want to know the philosophy, the theory, why it’s this way and not that way, and how do you fix these things. But they were just like, ‘Okay, this is the order you have to file forms in,’ and I decided I don’t care about any of this.”

He withdrew from the school and got a job selling suits at a men’s clothing store across the street from campus. As a back-up, Carroll also began training as a Chinese chef, which he continued for about two and a half years.

Meanwhile, within a year after he’d withdrawn from law school, a woman showed up in the men’s clothing store: Carroll’s former TA from a Shakespeare class he’d taken at Berkeley. She asked him if he’d be willing to help out with an argumentation course at Berkeley that she’d been involved in, and Carroll agreed, assuming he’d act as a TA and hold office hours every week.

“I showed up the next day to sign the paperwork, and turns out I was going to be teaching a section of this class, and class had started the previous week,” Carroll said. “So we were already a week behind and this was one of the classes I had done worst in in my college career, so I knew I needed to study a lot right away.”

Carroll rose to the challenge, studying and planning for his class’s first meeting in just a few days. The first class went well, and Carroll realized that teaching was what he wanted to pursue. He applied to graduate school at Berkeley and while waiting for his acceptance starting taking classes through the UC-Extension, which allowed him to finish his masters in just one year.

But Carroll credits another, more poignant moment as his real epiphany about teaching. He was sitting in the TA’s office one afternoon and noticed a woman walking back and forth outside. She was waiting for her TA to show up, but Carroll offered to help instead. She asked him to help her fit some ideas together for a paper on Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat.

Coincidentally, Carroll had taken an oral interpretation of literature class shortly before, and had done a performance of The Open Boat for his final project. “I knew it inside out, sideways, backwards, I knew everything there was to know about The Open Boat,” he said.

The woman said she had two ideas, and really wanted to say them both, but couldn’t figure out how to connect them. It was obvious to Carroll how the two pieces fit together, and he asked her questions to lead her to the same conclusion. After the second question, all the pieces fell into place, and Carroll said she started talking a mile a minute.

He never saw the girl again. “She’s just a person who appeared randomly out of the blue, but that was the moment that I knew I needed to be a teacher,” Carroll said. “The look on her face when all of those things fell into place, that’s when I was like, ‘This is what I have to do.’”

At Santa Clara, Carroll’s made a name for himself as a teacher who goes above and beyond what’s acceptable into what’s exceptional.

“The reason his teaching style is so unique is that nothing we talked about in class was a waste of time,” stated Christine Pearson, a Santa Clara graduate who took Carroll’s grant writing class.

Carroll is engaging in the classroom, talking quickly and enthusiastically and constantly asking questions. He’s known for his signature Hawaiian-print shirt, colored slacks and boater hat.

Stephen Carroll grilling ribs at a class BBQ.

Stephen Carroll grilling ribs at a class BBQ.

There’s another way Carroll goes above and beyond that of the average professor: during week ten of his classes, he’ll organize a class barbeque, where he’ll barbeque Texas-style ribs and portabella mushrooms for any vegetarians. Carroll estimates he’s had about two barbeques per quarter in the past 11 years; that’s 66 class barbeques.

Carroll has three pieces of advice for students, and it’s advice he lives by.

#1: “Learn first how you learn best.” Carroll says we know a lot about how people learn and what’s effective, but the majority of students don’t make the most of their time. Carroll’s not big on time-wasting, and he says instead of highlighting, re-reading, and studying notes, students need to practice studying the same way they’re going to be tested, which usually involves asking and answering questions.

#2: “Discover what you are capable of.” Carroll says too many people look for the easy way out and never find out that they’re capable of far more. He says that when you work really hard on something you didn’t think you were capable of and you succeed, there’s no other feeling like it.

And, finally, #3: “Be curious.”

— Sarah Ebbott

Michael Guggenheim: A Quest for Adventure

Prudential Award Pic 2.0As the group gathered around the dining hall table, spring break plans quickly became the topic of discussion, as our much-needed break from schoolwork was quickly approaching. Seeing friends, relaxing, and spending time with family were common plans, until Michael volunteered his plans to go scuba diving in Belize with his family. The group was simultaneously shocked and intrigued, as they had no idea Michael even possessed the proper scuba certification to embark on such an adventure.

“Guggz has a story for everything” says Jenna Holtz with an incredulous smile on her face, and the rest of the group nods in agreement. Michael Guggenheim, endearingly refered to as “Guggz” by friends, is not only a wonderful storyteller, but derives his stories from a young life filled with adventure. At only 19 years of age, Michael’s stories of exploration are unparalleled by his peers, and many lightheartedly refer to him as “the most interesting man in the world”. Not only does Michael lead such an adventurous life, he has overcome many obstacles, showing strength perseverance, and determination to live life to the fullest.

Yet, perhaps Guggz’s best quality is not his arsenal of experiences, but that he genuinely cares about his friends and their stories as well. Upon returning from spring break, Michael did not brag about his worldly experiences, and made sure to ask about everyone else’s spring break. As floormates, Michael and I have grown to be close friends, and although my spring break stories paled in comparison to his, he remained attentive and intrigued. I have had the pleasure of learning not about not only his travels and successes, but also the adversity he has overcome.

In his academic career, Michael has overcome many obstacles, but has proved to be an intelligent, hardworking individual. At a young age, Michael struggled with very bad handwriting, which many teachers wrote off as laziness, much to Michael’s dismay. In reality, fine motor movements were very painful for Michael; eventually he was diagnosed with dysgraphia, a rare condition making it almost impossible to write by hand. A therapist even told Michael’s mother that he would probably have to be homeschooled, and would not attend high school, let alone college. But Michael is proudly here, a freshman at Santa Clara University, defying all odds.

Michael has taken his diagnosis in stride, saying it has “put a chip on his shoulder,” a constant reminder of what he says has been the “greatest challenge of his life to date.” His increased competitiveness in overcoming obstacles has contributed to his love of adventure, engaging in many dangerous activities. At the age of four, Michael began to ski, and at seven he learned to drive an ATV. Soon thereafter, snowboarding, scuba diving, and river rafting were added to his favorite activities. Just this past spring break Michael traveled to Belize with his family and went scuba diving, both at night and during the day, coming in close contact with sting rays, sharks, and eels, among much other aquatic life.

A passion for adventure originated not only from the obstacles Michael has overcome, but also from his father, who, according to Michael, is infinitely more adventurous than his son. Michael’s mother cites the life she saw in her husband’s eyes as one of the primary reasons why she fell in love with him, and has grown to be more adventurous throughout their marriage.

His father has been known to push Michael to overcome his fears, often saying If you’re falling, you’re doing something right. It means you’re pushing yourself. It only becomes a problem when you get too scared to do something again”.

After falling off a cliff while dirt biking, Michael’s father enacted such a lesson. Although Michael was stricken with fear, his father made him return and bike through the same location the next week, saying that if he waited longer he would never get over the fear.

Although one cannot quantify Michael’s stories, his motivation to live life to the fullest has certainly contributed to lively discussions amongst friends, and incredulous reactions to his crazy experiences. However scared we may be to engage in risky behavior like Michael does, he still challenges all of us to truly live.

— Kirsten Andersen