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5 Reasons You Should Consider D3 Athletics

Alexis Dietz



The Virginia Cavaliers (orange and blue home uniforms) play against the Penn State Nittany Lions (all-white away uniforms) in 2012 in Scott Stadium

When you sign up to be on a Division 3 sports team, you know there will be no Big House filled with thousands of fans, and your games will not be televised. No one is going to glorify you or buy jerseys with your name on them. So why do D3 athletes play? Here are what five athletes from Kalamazoo College have to say about the benefits of D3 sports.

1. The camaraderie will last a lifetime.

Cameron Crothers, a 2020 graduate of Kalamazoo College and former quarterback for the school’s football team, says that the biggest benefit of D3 sports is the support system his team created for him.

“Yes, I was passionate about the sport, but what kept me coming back each year were my teammates and the bonds I built with them. In tough times on the field and off the field I knew I had a good support system. Some of my favorite memories of college are from my sport, and it wouldn’t be memorable without the teammates I shared them with,” Crothers said.

When you join a D3 sport, your teammates become your family. You spend a lot of time with your team; at practices, on bus rides, in the locker room, at team bonding events, and at team meals, it’s impossible not to form a bond and friendship with your teammates.

Many fall sports have athletes move into dorms a few weeks early to start training, allowing them to create friendships and support groups before other students even start to move in. Starting at a new school where you do not know anyone is scary, but being a part of a D3 program can really help ease this transition and help you find your way.

2. Academics are always a priority.

Izzy Clark, a senior, starting shooting guard, and two-time captain of the Kalamazoo College women’s basketball team, states that the biggest benefit of playing a D3 sport is that it allows her to put her academics and career goals first.

“Since I first began playing my sport at a D3 school I realized it was the perfect fit for me. My academic and career goals are demanding and require me to put in a lot of time and effort in the classroom. At the same time, I know I could not be the student I need to be without basketball in my life. Participating in D3 athletics allows me to balance the sport I love with a rigorous academic schedule. I have never felt like I had to put my education aside to succeed in my sport, and vice versa,” Clark said.

According to Clark, her coaches and teammates constantly push her to reach her goals in the classroom as well as on the court. Therefore, she believes playing a sport at the D3 level has prepared her for the professional world. It taught her commitment, teamwork, effort, focus, and balance. Clark feels that she wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

While playing a D3 sports, you are not only able to put your education first, but you are expected to. Most coaches keep track of their players’ academic achievements and class attendance. They set a standard that they expect all of their players to achieve academically before they allow them to perform athletically.

It is very rare that you would have to miss class for a game, since coaches plan their practice times around their players’ academic schedules. Not only does playing at the D3 level not interfere with academics, but it actually pushes players to perform at even higher levels in the classroom and teaches them how to find the balance they need in order to reach all of their goals in life as well.

3. The player comes first.

Benjamin Krebs, a senior and defensive middle on the Kalamazoo College men’s lacrosse team, believes that the biggest benefit of D3 sports is that, because D3 teams are smaller, you can have closer relationships with your teammates and coaches, and the player always comes above the game.

“With D3 sports, the coaches care about the individual. No game is ever bigger than what is going on in our personal lives. Coach always wants to hear about how our families are doing. He wants to build relationships not just with us but with those we care about. We often have team potlucks after each game with the parents that attend. He knows us personally and cares about us each individually,” Krebs said.

D3 sports allow for more personal relationships between the coaches and the players. You will never feel like you are replaceable or just part of a business exchange. The individual comes before the game.

4. It doesn’t take up all of your time.

Rachel Madar, a senior, midfielder, and captain of the Kalamazoo College women’s lacrosse team, expresses that the biggest benefit of D3 sports is that she can continue to play the sport she loves while pursuing other interests and focusing on her future goals.

“In D3 athletics, you get to play the sport you love, while also bettering yourself for the future. You have time to join other extracurriculars that can help influence what you do after undergrad. School comes first, so you have the potential to set yourself up successfully in academics, but also play a sport at a very competitive level. Overall, it’s the perfect balance between school and athletics that you can’t get everywhere else,” Madar said.

Madar is not only a superstar on the field, often leading her team in points and assists and setting school records, but she also shines in the classroom. She is on a pre-med track at Kalamazoo College and is looking into attending dental school after graduation. A D3 athletic program allows Madar to put her academics first and focus on her post-grad plans, while also allowing her to play the game she loves. She has time for school, sports, family, and friends.

Madar was even able to attend a four-month study abroad program in Rome, Italy last fall without it interfering with her athletic or academic goals and achievements. D3 athletics allows you flexibility with your time and schedule that you would not have at any other level of play.

5. You will gain so many life lessons.

Mike Sweeney, a junior and pitcher for the Kalamazoo College men’s baseball team, considers the biggest benefit of D3 sports to be the many lessons that being a part of a D3 sports program has taught him, especially those that can be applied to all areas of life.

“The ability to pursue college athletics has benefitted me both on and off the field. Not only has it developed me as a better player, but it has also allowed me to take the skills I have learned and apply them to other aspects of my life. College athletics helped me form a strong work ethic and camaraderie that will prove greatly in my future endeavors,” Sweeney said.

Being a part of a college team requires dedication, commitment, and perseverance, all of which are qualities that carry over well into other areas of life. Playing a D3 sport builds character traits that are beneficial in all careers and areas of life. Athletes who play at the D3 level often take away just as much as they give to their programs.

Choosing the right fit for continuing an athletic career is an important decision every athlete has to make. Although the D1 and D2 programs may offer more flashy gear and more fans, there are a plethora of advantages that come with playing at the D3 level. Every athlete is unique, as is each athletic program, and there are pros and cons to playing at any level. These are just a few of the many benefits athletes have discovered come with playing a D3 sport.

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Halloween is Here-What to expect of it Amid the Pandemic?

Abrar Shah



Two halloween jac-o-lanterns smiling and glowing in the dark outside of a house

Halloween this year will undeniably be different than in previous years. A significant number of young children across the country will be disappointed. Others will eagerly wait for the holiday to return to form next year, if even possible.

There is one clear takeaway from this year though. You should simply not conduct Halloween celebrations outdoors right now, for your own good. People are responsible for others now more than ever so it is a good time to reassess what holidays are truly important. 

Most people in the world are not fond of the pandemic, and rightfully so. Halloween arguably will take place in hell this year, since seeing a person without a costume in the current climate is more fear-inducing than a person with one. 

Since Halloween is in hell, there is no better time to mention one of Germany’s finest power-metal acts, Helloween. One of the pumpkin men’s most well-known songs is “I Want Out,” a strong summary of the average person’s feelings about the pandemic.

Of course, it is not impossible to celebrate Halloween right now. All indoor activities can simply remain as they are. People who interact with each other frequently enough would not have any additional concerns. 

For people who are fond of horror films, this year would arguably be the best Halloween possible. They can stay in and watch as many films back to back as they could possibly want. Plus, the great thing is that they are not putting anyone in danger unless of course there are a hundred people in the same room.

If you do consider having an army of individuals, AMC’s theater renting plan may be just for you. Many horror films are still meant to be savored on the big screen. 

Trick-or-treating this year for the casually-minded individual should be a no-go. Naturally, college students should not really see themselves performing the activity this many years later unless they truly believe they have an unseverable connection with it, perhaps because of younger siblings. 

The Halloween crisis this year brings up certain questions that you ought to ask yourself regularly, but are necessary to consider in the post-COVID world. Some of the following questions may seem awfully simple, but you’ll quickly realize the many things they can apply to, and make you reflect accordingly.

  • When was the last time you performed a task within its normal timeframe?
  • When was the last time you had to pick one activity over the other because of how much time other things were taking?
  • How many times have you spent consecutive holidays with the same people, and will that be the same this year?
  • Are there any activities you have done last year that have fallen out of favor this year?
  • Has the extended period of time at home made being home less appealing?
  • Has your household successfully maintained an olive branch for the duration of this year? In other words, have your family members kept the peace? 
  • What were some of your most important realizations over the past several months?
  • Do you consider all the sides to the story (If you’re an Extreme fan, the answer would perhaps be three)?
  • Have you developed any new habits (or even lost any)?
  • Have you had any major changes in perspective on standardized, cultural, or other issues?
  • Have you convinced yourself that a certain thing is more special than it once seemed?

These questions can go on and on. The important part is whether you can have answers to engage yourself with. 

The key idea left for you to consider is whether you will gain something from celebrating Halloween this year, whether it be in the standard fashion or tailoring your festivities in accordance with the current circumstances of the world.

Yes, the holidays only come once a year, but there is no better Halloween to decide how much you really care about this particular holiday going forward in your life, and whether it still brings as much joy as you may have had at a younger age.

Some people will challenge themselves to find a new way to enjoy something. Others will not let themselves be stopped from indulging in their pleasures. And then, of course, there are those who nod it off as another day in the week.

At the end of the day, you have to plan to do what you believe is best for you. You need to determine how meaningful it can possibly be, as well as how you would feel without doing it. The choice is yours, as it always has been, but will you make the right choice?

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3 Ways to Alleviate Germaphobia

Ivonne Scaglione



Man sitting against a wall while wearing jeans, boots, and a sweater, looking. out at a large model of a virus

Germaphobia is the persistent and excessive fear of germs. As you know, we call them germophobic. Anxiety and germaphobia are inextricably connected but not necessarily the same diagnosis. So, what crosses the line between someone who is a germophobe and someone who is a little anxious about germs?

If we look at history, we can see that germs can wipe out entire populations. Besides global warming, another end-of-the-world scenario is an uncontrollable pandemic. But, so far, no pandemic has been even close to exterminating us. So far, we were able to control the virus and its expansion. And so far, we had our happy ending: humanity continued to prevail.

Around the 1920s, yellow fever created anxiety about hot humid weather and its mosquitos. Yet, with ingenuity, fish were used to eat the mosquitos’ eggs. Eventually, a vaccine was developed, and the disease was controlled up to this day. H.I.V is labeled as a pandemic and was controlled with medicines.

It’s not a death sentence anymore and people continue to live with the disease. Anthrax was controlled with an antibiotic named Cipro. Throughout history, there have been many deadly pandemics, including the swine flu and the avian flu, but nothing was more serious than the Spanish influenza of 1918. It killed at least 20 million people. Still, after this pandemic faded away, the homo sapiens continued to survive and rule the world.

During these historical pandemics, humans were witnessing their loved ones getting sick and dying. Naturally, the fear of invisible murderer pathogens began to possess people. However, some level of anxiety during a pandemic is normal. It can help.

Some level of anxiety reminds us to protect ourselves by being prepared. For example, using antibacterial soaps. For anxious people, these products not only promise to clean your hands but promise to destroy the troublesome germs. This is a serious growing business. In 1998, the profit for soap was about $400 million. It’s much higher now due to the pandemic.

A person washing their hands with soap under a faucet of running water

According to the DSM-5, anxiety is the anticipation of the future while fear is an emotional response to threat. The latter creates a fight or flight response while anxiety is associated with hypervigilance about imminent danger. Avoiding touching doorknobs, public surfaces, using sanitizers, washing groceries, and keeping a distance from strangers without masks are all part of being cautious during these times. This doesn’t make you a person with a serious anxiety problem or a germophobe. Germaphobia occurs when there is excessive fear and anxiety with the thought of coming into contact with germs.

Under the DSM-5, Germaphobia would be under the category of specific phobia. Like the extreme fear of spiders or heights, there is a severe fear of germs. Phobias are usually characterized by overestimating the enemy. A germophobic will not be satisfied with only washing hands while singing the Happy Birthday song. Other criteria presented in the DSM-5 is avoidance. Germaphobia will cause impairment in different areas of functioning such as work or social activities.

For example, a woman who misses her meeting at work due to persistent handwashing in a public bathroom where she takes a long period of time attempting not to touch anything. Certainly, so far, we can’t stop pandemics from originating in some parts of the world, but we can learn to cope with the extreme fear of germs or germaphobia.

These are three ways you can alleviate germaphobia:

1. Be positive and hopeful

People with severe anxiety think catastrophically. Under any circumstances in which they are exposed to their fear, they will think of the worst possible scenario. A person with germaphobia will avoid any uncomfortable situation completely because of “catastrophic” and invasive thoughts. When we find ourselves in a situation that causes us anxiety, it’s important to have a positive attitude. When our brains receive this signal, it becomes easier to manage anxiety. Also, people with germaphobia are hopeless about the future. Therefore, they would rather avoid being exposed to their fear at all. Being hopeful can help us recognize that we have control of the situation by having a plan and taking care of ourselves. But, most of all, being hopeful makes us realize that not everything has negative outcomes. Catastrophic thoughts are irrational and untrue.

A woman in bed, wearing a grey sweater and shorts, with her hands over her eyes, under her covers, crying

2. Meditate

Due to the rates for mental disorders in the western world being high, many Americans now turn to meditation for mental health. Even though mediation comes from Buddhism, any religion is welcomed to practice it. Throughout the years, meditation has become universal and people with different religious backgrounds practice it. The purpose of meditation is to allow you to look deep into yourself and stay in the present. It’s a way to connect with your deeper self. Spending that time of self-compassion will allow you to understand better your anxiety which leads to manage it better. Buddhism has harsh truths like pain is inevitable. This religion believes that life is suffering and accepting emotional pain will help you alleviate it. Instead of avoiding suffering, learn to deal with it. When you begin to surrender to it, you begin to accept it. The battle against fear and pain is over: Nirvana.

A woman in a green and white patterned shirt and pants, sitting on a dock on a body of water, in a yoga pose

3. Stay grounded in the present

People with germaphobia and severe anxiety tend to live in the future. They are constantly vigilant of their present foreseeing a catastrophic future when exposed to their phobia. This will trigger irrational thoughts about suffering when it’s not happening. In other words, germophobes will suffer before something happens or they will suffer for what will never happen. It’s important to shift your mind to the present and stay grounded in it. Tell the catastrophic mind: “I am here, I am safe.” And, when you aren’t as safe as you would rather be, say: “I am still here breathing; this too will pass, and I’ll be OK.”

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How the Coronavirus is Shaping the 2020 Election

Ian Wentzlaff



Elderly woman in a white long sleeve shirt, mask, carrying a black purse with her as she walks outside

2020, a year already destined to be recorded as one of the most bizarre times in recent history, adds another layer of intrigue in November: the presidential election will take place in the midst of a deadly pandemic sweeping across the globe.

Voters across the country are entering uncharted territory this fall; individual health concerns about contracting coronavirus will lead many to vote by mail for the first time.

Coronavirus has afflicted nearly every part of the world, but the United States in particular has felt its ravaging effects. The U.S. has accounted for over 200 thousand of the 1.15 million deaths related to coronavirus worldwide.

Another way of thinking about this: one out of every five people killed by the virus was an American citizen. This statistic weighs heavily on the minds of voters in the upcoming election, as the decision to vote traditionally or by mail needs to be made.

Microscopic image focused on a virus

There is much confusion surrounding mail-in ballots, and rumors about the likelihood of voter fraud abound. The reality is that voter fraud of any kind is extremely rare in the United States. This extends to mail-in voting.

Causing more confoundment is the fact that voting regulations vary from state to state. Places like Hawaii, where mail-in ballots have been the norm for some time, will presumably have little trouble implementing this method again in this election.

On the flip side, a state like Alabama that only allows voters to register for absentee ballots may find the increased number of mailed-in votes difficult to process.

Yet another wrinkle in the mail-in ballot complex is the necessitation of so-called secrecy envelopes that are required by some states. Further, any vote cast via mail without a said envelope, which are sometimes called “naked ballots,” may not be counted.

However, the need for secrecy envelopes ceased to exist when mail-in ballots began being counted at a separate location from the public polling places, thus eliminating the need for secrecy.

These regulations may deter some voters from opting for a mail-in ballot this election. However, others may fear that the risk of contracting a deadly virus is too great at public polling locations, where thousands of people will congregate.

The virus’s recent resurgence in Europe has led many experts to predict that the United States will also see a spike in the number of cases very soon. This second wave may hit just in time for the election, and that unfortunate timing only adds to the existing fears of voters.

In this upcoming election, no matter which political party you align with or which candidate you prefer in the White House, vote in whichever way makes you the most comfortable.

If the risk of contracting coronavirus frightens you, know that all states are required to allow absentee ballots, and most states support general mail-in voting. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s voting regulations, and most importantly: VOTE!

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