Friday, September 1, 2017

On to the real world: Lessons learned in college

Something that people may know about me is that I am almost always late. I have been this way my whole life. I mean, I was born two weeks late, so literally my whole life. I am late to get places, I am late to wake up, I am late to text people back, and I am late to post things about my life. SO,with that in mind, it has been two weeks since...


Yeah, I did that. Now, I was not late to announce that. I posted about it on social media and told everyone who wanted to know, but I am late to write this and post more pictures, which I have been meaning to do for the past two weeks.  I didn't want to write this in a Facebook post because it would be too long and I didn't want to be that person... even though I am still being that person by writing a long post here, but I wanted to so I did. I just wanted to talk about how my last three years at BYU have shaped who I am right now and the things I have realized since I made the big move from NC to Utah.

One of the most important things I have realized is how stinking lucky I am to have the life I have. I mean, I had the opportunity to go to one of the best universities in the country where I received an excellent education that I will benefit from for the rest of my life. I get to live in a beautiful place where I get to see the mountains every single day. I have great friends who love me for who I really I am. Most of all, I have an incredibly loving and giving family. Honesty, I don't deserve them because they are too good to me. My parents have given and still continue to give me so much. My sisters are so generous to me and are always there to let me rant about my stupid problems. I try not to take them for granted and express my appreciation and love for them often. I just have a good life and even when things get hard, I can step back and just think about how good I have it. 

With that, I have realized that I am so privileged. As a teenager, you think that your life is so incredibly tragic and difficult. I know I thought that sometimes. I just look back to then and laugh because my life was never that hard. I have had a pretty easy life. I mean, I have gone through a lot of difficult things, but for the most part I have it pretty easy. I never had to go without the things I needed and I still don't. It would be ridiculous of me to deny that this is true or for me to say that I have had an extremely rough life because I haven't and I am so thankful for that. Simple as that.

Something I have learned to do better is to own my mistakes. I used to think that I always needed to be striving to be perfect, but the thing is... perfection is absolutely unattainable in this life. It is so unhealthy, for me at least, to strive towards perfection because I will never get there on this earth. Why work towards something you can't attain?! I have so many weaknesses and I am not a perfect person and I will never claim to be. I am not ashamed to make mistakes and I will willingly admit when I do because that is how I grow and learn how to be my best. My best isn't perfect and that's ok because I have the Atonement of Christ. (We all do!!) Christ was perfect on this earth so we don't have to be. We can make mistakes and still be just fine because of Him, as long as we are willing to own those mistakes and repent. That is something that has helped me feel a lot better about myself in this place where everyone (seems) so "righteous." 

Another thing that has changed about me is my confidence. To be honest, I have always been pretty confident in myself. I mean, I went through the middle school years where I wanted to be like everyone else, but I grew up and realized it was too exhausting to pretend to be someone I wasn't. That belief has just grown since moving out to Utah. I know my strengths and I am willing to show them. I have learned how to take compliments, which is something I used to be terrible at. I have grown so much as a person and I really like who I am. Now I'm not saying my confidence is perfect and unshakable. I mean, there are lots of things I don't like about myself, I am bad about comparing myself to others, and I still feel self-conscious, but I am still confident in the person I am. AND I have been able to build my self-image from what I think about myself and not what others think of me. Sure, I still care about what people think of me and I want people to like me, but I work to not let their opinions affect how I see myself because I know I am awesome. (And humble... I really do try to sit down and be humble, like Kendrick Lamar reminds me to do.) 

One of the biggest things I have learned is that I don't have to be happy all the time. My life may seem like it's all rainbows and butterflies if you only know me on social media, but it's not. Don't get me wrong, my life is good, but it's not perfect and I am NOT always happy. I have had some pretty difficult experiences since I have been here. I have struggled... a lot. I have always been a happy, optimistic person, and I still feel like I am for the most part. BUT, I have taken my rose-colored glasses off and I see that I cannot be happy all the time. It's ok not to be okay. It's ok to sit in your car and cry when things don't go right. It's ok to be upset when someone does something really crappy to you. It's ok to be mad at yourself when you do something dumb (and it's ok to do dumb things.) I am not condoning being a terrible person, I'm simply saying it's ok to not be good all the time. And I have seen that it's important to let people know that you're not alright and that you struggle with real life issues. It humanizes us and allows us to connect better with each other, which is so important in the world today.

These last few months have allowed me to reflect on the last few years of my life and I am very thankful for that. College is said to be a transformative time in life and it really has been for me. I am still the Madeline I was five years ago, just with a few more upgrades and lots of tweaks. I am happy with who I am because I know I (slowly) becoming who I am supposed to be and who Heavenly Father and Christ want me to be. I have a long road ahead, but I am excited to start this new chapter of my life. I think it's going to be a pretty great one. 

-M. Philly

P.S. I also learned that laughter is the BEST solution to most of life's problems. It's good to laugh at yourself and allow others to laugh with you. And I am pretty hilarious, so laughter is a pretty constant thing in my life. ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Do We Care: Superheroes and body image

The first trailer for the new reboot of Spider-Man was released earlier this week and the internet has been loosing it's mind ever since. Many people are excited to see "Spider-Man: Homecoming," but there are many who are tired of the reboots, this being the third version of the web-slinging hero.

This new installment stars 20-year-old actor, Tom Holland as Spider-Man. He differs from the former Spider-Man actors because he is closer to Peter Parker's age. Toby McGuire was 27 years old when he got the role of the high school superhero and Andrew Garfield was 29 years old. Some think that the age similarity may make him the best Spider-Man yet. Also, Holland has already impressed critics  and fans with is small appearance in "Captain America: Civil War," because of his ability to compete alongside the other Marvel heroes.

With that, why do people care so much about superheroes? David Wright, a writer for ABC News, said that people look to superheroes to "tackle problems that are too tough for mere mortals to handle." Alex Wilgus said superheroes are "colorful incarnations of the human soul," tackling the issues of humanity.

These heroes help us escape from our reality and jump into a false reality where people have super powers and the ability to save humankind from evil. Along with that, the heroes all have the perfect bodies, capable of picking up cars punching through walls.

These bodies depicting superheroes, people that young boys want to be, has had a negative effect on males. A McCreary Centre Society study found that 31 percent of healthy weight boys in Grades 7 to 12 were trying to gain weight. Not just young boys are looking to gain weight, older males have looked to protein powders and sports supplements to get the muscles like a superhero. A study in August 2015 found that only four percent of men are happy with their physique and 85 percent had been on a diet to attempt to achieve their ideal body.

Society has become so obsessed with having the perfect bodies, which had led to the rise of plastic surgery and body building and the decrease of health self-esteem.

So, do we care about superheroes and their bodies? It is clear that we, as a society, do because we are allowing their unrealistic bodies to be a comparison to our own.

Do We Care: Internet Challenges and their effects

The newest internet craze has everyone frozen in their tracks. The Mannequin Challenge, the internet's newest video challenge, features groups of people standing still while someone walks around recording the whole thing. Who would have thought something that simple would explode on the internet.

The challenge comes from a group of students from Edward H. White High School in Jacksonville, Florida who came up with the idea in class one day. One girl froze in front of the class and another said that she looked like a mannequin. Other students liked the idea and joined in and then someone recorded the finished result and posted it to Twitter. Next thing they knew students around the country were taking on the challenge.

The challenge really took off when sports teams and celebrities decided to join in. people like the New York Giants, Hillary Clinton, the FLOTUS with the Cleveland Cavilers, and Taylor Swift have accepted the challenge. The BYU gymnastics team also took the challenge, racking up more than 7.5 million views so far and landing a feature on ESPN.

The Mannequin Challenge is not the first internet challenge to take over the internet. There have been many other challenges that celebrities and every day people have gotten involved in, but why?

Peer pressure is a major factor that keeps these challenges trending, particularly for teenagers. Laurence Steinberg, a researcher at Temple University in Philadelphia found that "teenagers are drawn to immediate rewards of a potential choice and are less attentive to the possible risks." He also found that because teens are still learning to control their impulses, they have a harder time resisting pressure from others.

With that, many internet challenges of the past have proved to be dangerous to people's health. For instance, the Hot Pepper Challenge has sent people to the hospital and the Cinnamon Challenge can lead to choking or even vomiting, yet teens are more than willing to complete the challenge just to be accepted and respected by their peers.

Not all challenges have lead to harm. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which was started to create more widespread awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), challenged millions of people to pour a bucket of ice water on themselves or donate to the ALS Association. Millions of dollars were raised for the association and made for entertaining videos of your friends and favorite celebrities pouring freezing water on themselves.

So, do we care about internet challenges? It is clear that we as a society do because they are entertaining and because our friends and favorite public figures are "challenging" us to join in.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Do We Care: Kardashians, social media and plastic surgery

Someone in the Kardashian-Jenner family is in the headlines every day. Last month's headlines were about Kim getting robbed in Paris. Last week they were about Kim's husband Kayne West cancelling his tour and checking into the hospital. Today they are about Kim and Kayne's marital problems. Why is the media so concerned with this family and their personal lives? What is so special about them?

"Keeping up with the Kardashians" has been on television since 2007 and over 2 million people tune in each week to see what the famous family is up to. The family has also taken over social media. Kim has 88.2 million followers on Instagram with younger sister, Kylie Jenner is close behind her with 80 million. Kylie is also the most followed person on Snapchat. They willingness to flaunt their bodies for all to see is what keeps the media talking and their population of fans to grow.

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

The Kardashians put a lot of emphasis on their appearance. Most of them have fended off rumors of plastic surgery, saying their extreme hourglass figures are all natural. Many of their followers are younger females who care about appearance. Even though the Kardashians say they haven't gotten any plastic surgery, plastic surgery is on the rise.

A photo posted by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

In 2015, minimally-invasive and surgical cosmetic procedures increased by 2 percent since 2014. While procedures like face lifts and breast augmentation went down, buttock lifts and transplants were up 36 percent. There is no direct correlation between the Kardashians and the increase in those procedures, but it is interesting to note that their fans want to look like the big booty sisters with tiny waists.

Utah has one of the highest rates of plastic surgery. Salt Lake City was named the "vainest" city in America back in 2007 due to the large amount of plastic surgeons in the area. In 2010, Utah had the eighth-highest number of of plastic surgeons per capita. Many Utah women are going under the knife to get "mommy makeovers," as do many women in Hollywood, to get their pre-baby body back.

Teenagers are even jumping on the plastic surgery train. In 2014, 64,000 cosmetic surgery patients in 2014 were 13-19 years old. Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, CEO of BeverlyHillsBody told PEOPLE in 2015 "This is directly related to surgery of the stars of the their reality shows, and the acceptance of cosmetic procedures on social media."

While there is no solid proof or direct correlation, but plastic surgery rates keep rising. So, back to the main question of do we care? People like the Kardashians and social media influencers could possibly influence us to change our minds without even trying.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Do We care: Celebrities and elections

It has been over a week since Donald Trump won the election and became the new president-elect. The news of his victory has left millions devastated and fearful for the future. Many celebrities were among the millions mourning Hillary Clinton's loss. Celebrities have taken political stands for this during this election in the past couple years, but why do people care about who Taylor Swift or Tom Brady voted for?

Celebrities endorsing presidential candidates is nothing new, but with the rise of social media, this past election brought more to these public figures' opinions into the spotlight. The number of stars backing Hillary greatly outweighed the number backing Trump, yet Trump took home the win. This made people question whether celebrity endorsements make any difference in elections.

Stars think they have a huge influence on the general public and while they are seen by many, their political stands do not necessarily cause people to change their own political views.

People like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Anne Hathaway also visited college campuses encouraging students to vote. Millennials are known to be a celebrity and social media obsessed generation, so campaigning to them was a smart tactic, but it did not have much of an effect on voter turnout.

A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

55 percent of millennials (18-29 year olds) voted for Clinton and 37 percent voted for Trump and republican voter turnout in this age group was the fourth-lowest turnout since 1972. Even with that, voter turnout in states Trump won were, on average, unchanged, but in states where Clinton won, turnout dropped by an average of 2.3 percentage points.

In Utah, despite pushing for the millennial vote, Evan McMullin, who was ahead in the polls the week of the election, Trump still won the state. Maybe McMullin would have won Utah with a few celebrities on his side, but there is no way to tell.

So, back to the question: Do we care about celebrities involved in elections? The answer is inconclusive because there is no real proof celebrity endorsements have any effect on voters.

Monday, May 9, 2016


Social media is a double edge sword. It allows us to stay connected with friends and family no matter where we are, but it also allows us to compare ourselves to others. I find myself comparing my life to my friends' more often than I should. It is hard to look at what others are doing and not wonder why you aren't doing the same things.

I graduated high school four years ago, which means I could be graduating college right now. Many of my friends are graduated this past weekend and are moving on to bigger and better things, while I am sitting in my apartment writing this when I should be writing an article that is due before next class. As I saw everyone posting pictures at graduation, I began to think why that wasn't me. Why am I not graduating right now? Why am I behind? Why is my life a mess when everyone else seems to have theirs together?

While I was wallowing in my hole of self-pity, I snapped myself back to reality. Just because someone looks like they have their life together, doesn't mean they do. Sure, I may not have graduated this weekend, but I will in a year and a half. I may be behind, but it's because I chose to transfer schools rather than go to a university I didn't love for four years. My life may be a bit of a mess, but I still have time to figure things out before I get thrown into the real world. My original life plan may be shot to pieces, but I know I am right where I am supposed to be. I am Madeline and I can't and don't want to be anyone else. (I mean, I actually wouldn't mind being Taylor Swift...)

We have to stop comparing ourselves to others. None of us are the same. We all move through life in different ways and at different paces. We all look different and have different personalities, so we should celebrate those differences! Find what makes you extra special because there is something special about everyone. Be happy with where and who you are because the only life you can live is your own. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured, so love YOUR life and be the best YOU you can possibly be. I promise, it's better than watching others live their lives on Instagram or Facebook. ;)

-M. Philly

Monday, February 22, 2016


For all those who have Instagram, I am sure you are aware that you can put a location on your photos. Sometimes it can be creepy, but sometimes it can be really cool. In one of my classes, we did a little assignment where we had to take at least 10 pictures that had a common theme and post them on Instagram with a location attached to them. I am working on an article about movies and ratings, so I decided to stick with the theme of movies. I found different places to buy and watch movies and where to get snacks for cheap. With SnapMap, I am able to see where each place I took a photo is. It's pretty cool actually. If you want to know the scoop when it comes to movies in Provo/Orem, check out my SnapMap!!

-M. Philly