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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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Is Rate My Professors Worth the Hassle? 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It

Emily Bevacqua



A person with short buzzed hair  wearing a black sweater, and reading a dark blue book, while sitting in a desk with a pile of books in front of them.

When it comes to choosing classes, students often turn to Rate My Professors to learn more about which professors and courses to take. However, with lack of accurate information and biased opinions, Rate My Professors isn’t as helpful as students think. 

Class schedules are the bane of a college student’s existence. Creating a perfect one is impossible and picking professors is a gamble. Unless students can see the future, they won’t know if a class is going to be interesting or if the teaching style is going to be boring.

Students have to create backup schedules and sometimes even backups to the backup schedule. It’s unpredictable. The only way to get some insight into the process is by doing research.

There are a couple of ways students can guess at how a class will be. First, universities provide descriptions of courses, and departments post more specific information on their own websites. This usually helps students decide if the material will be interesting and something they want to learn.

A young brunette lady wearing a grey T shirt with teal writing on it takes notes in her notebook, while reading her textbook with her glasses on top of it.

The other way to gain perspective on a class is through other students. Turning to friends who have had the professor or taken the specific course before can be useful. However, with large universities, a friend may not have even heard of the one in question. So, students then turn to the “trusty” old site, Rate My Professors

Rate My Professors is a website where anonymous users post reviews on professors and their courses so that others can gain insight. People have been using this site for over a decade, ranking quality and difficulty of the class on a scale of five with a brief explanation. 

The problem with this site is that it’s really inaccurate. Relying solely on this information is a mistake. Students shouldn’t trust Rate My Professors, and here’s why:

1. Posts are outdated.

Sometimes, users haven’t posted about a professor in years. Julia Keefer from New York University has 6 ratings, the newest from 2010. Similarly, Michael Himes from Boston College hasn’t been rated since 2011.

These professors still teach at the universities yet they are being judged by opinions from ten years ago. Teaching styles, material, and people change over the years. It is inaccurate to trust opinions that are so old.

2.Opinions are the extremes.

When someone posts a review on a restaurant, they either loved it or had the worst dinner of their life. The same goes for Rate My Professors. Alan Fridlund from the University of California Santa Barbara is, as one student puts it, “a divisive professor. Some people love his humor and passion for the subject while others hate his politics.”

His ratings are all over the place. Some give him a 4.0 to 5.0 quality rating while others give him 3.0 or even a 1.0. They say he is a “Very funny guy, [and] makes what he talks about seem very interesting.”

However, a student also said, “I found many things he said to be quite inaccurate in his lectures. His Republican viewpoints often collided with his teachings, and he misinformed so many students.” With drastic viewpoints, Fridlund seems questionable. Which review should potential students for his classes trust?

3.Few ratings give good (or bad) overall reviews.

With any collection of data, the more input, the better the conclusion. Professors can have hundreds of ratings, which provides a more accurate judgment, but they can also have as few as three or less.

Cameron Myler from New York University has one rating, which happens to be a good one. This gives Myler an overall quality of 5.0. However her fellow colleague Jing Yang, also has one rating that gives her an overall quality of 3.0.

4.Professors have no reviews or a page.

Some professors don’t have any reviews at all, as is the case for Lisa Samuel from New York University. There are also times where they do not even have a page on the site, like Elena Kalodner-Martin from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This can make students jump to the conclusion that the professor is new to the school and lacks experience, which can deter them from taking the class.

5.The course isn’t reviewed.

Specific courses oftentimes don’t have any reviews, but the professor is rated on others. Judging them based on a different class is jumping to conclusions. They may teach a 100 level course in a completely different way than an upper-level one.

6.Users don’t provide details.

Students can be lazy. They want to help other college kids, but they don’t want to put in too much effort. Descriptions on Rate My Professors can be very short. For Harold Peterson from Boston College, his three reviews say, “Best professor ever,” one is blank, and, “Very easy. Don’t take anyone else for Principles of Economics.” Judging Peterson based on those few words is unfair.

A man with a beard and glasses wearing a business outfit, while sitting down and using a business chart app on his iPad.

If students are going to use Rate My Professors, they have to look beyond the site. They shouldn’t trust these anonymous opinions alone. University websites provide professors’ profiles through faculty directories. This gives more information on their qualifications, accomplishments, and personality.

Students can also ask classmates that they’ve worked with before. Asking others within a major, increases the likelihood that they have taken the course or had the professor. Alternatively, students can post in Facebook groups to see what other peers who’ve recently taken classes with the professor have to say. 

In the end, picking a professor is still a guessing game. Thankfully, the Add/Drop period at the beginning of the semester allows students to change their mind after attending the class a few times. It’s okay to change a schedule once the semester begins. Students have to be happy with their courses in order to gain the most from them and keep a healthy mind.

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Are Ethical Fashion Brands the Solution for a Better World?

Anna Anderson



A close-up view of a rack filled with several pieces of clothing on white hangers at a thrift store.

Fast fashion brands have grown in popularity for their low-cost clothing and convenient accessibility online. However, these brands bring about major consequences in the world. From maltreatment of workers to heavy environmental damage. 

First, the workers in the fast fashion industry are often underpaid and overworked. Some are abused and must work in poor conditions, such as overseas. Human beings should not have to undergo this brutal treatment or face such exploitation. Instead, they should be paid fair labor wages for their hard work, time, and efforts.

In addition to this, fast fashion heavily contributes to the pollution of our water. After fast fashion brands manufacture clothes made of synthetic fabrics, consumers buy them and wash them. Every time someone washes these materials, it leads to polyester pollution.

Since the water inside washing machines, which is now contaminated with microfibers from these synthetic fabrics, streams into fresh bodies of water, a large portion of wildlife actually ingest these unhealthy and inorganic fabrics.

Another impact on the environment is excessive waste. These fast fashion companies produce clothing in bulk, leading to more than what is necessary.

If people don’t buy all of the excess inventory, then it goes to waste. The clothing made of synthetic fabrics is incinerated or goes to landfills and never decomposes. 

Lastly, the fashion industry is responsible for 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Fast fashion also uses up 79 billion cubic meters of fresh water every year. All of these factors are destroying the Earth’s ecosystem.

These effects make it important for all of us to do our part in decreasing our consumption of the industry. Thankfully, there are many ways to address the problems above.

First, you can do research on different brands with the help of the internet. You can find out if your go-to stores are actually the perpetrators of workplace abuse and stop shopping there, and research brands that are kind and caring towards their employees. 

With more research, you can also look for organic and vegan brands. Their fabrics, which most likely consist of organic cotton, won’t do as much damage to the Earth. There are hundreds of these stores out there, and with online shopping, it’s easy to buy from them. 

Another environmentally friendly option is shopping at thrift stores. They sell gently used clothing that isn’t ready to be thrown away. If you live in a big city, there are many thrift stores you can visit. There are also online thrift stores such as ThredUP, Poshmark, and Depop.

When thrifting, you can find unique and vintage items that can’t be found elsewhere. This can upgrade your closet significantly. 

In a similar vein, you can rent or borrow clothes online. Apps like My Wardrobe Hq enables people to borrow clothes from each other. An American company called Rent the Runway allows people to use designer clothes for events. These clothing methods lead to less fast fashion consumption and less clothing waste. 

Sometimes, you won’t want an item anymore even if it is still in good quality to wear. Instead of throwing it away, you can give it to someone who wants it. Decrease waste by donating your old clothes to charity or taking them to thrift stores. 

You can decrease water waste by washing your clothes less often. This puts less fibers into the environment and keeps your clothes in better shape. Fewer washes mean less damage to your clothes. It’s also the perfect excuse for less laundry and fewer chores to do. 

All the ways above can be integrated into your lifestyle and shopping habits. The shift doesn’t have to be overnight but can happen in waves. Every action counts and leads toward a better world. We can all do something to decrease our support for fast fashion and shop more sustainably. With these ethical fashion practices, we can make a huge difference.

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How the pandemic will contribute to negative social-emotional development



One man with dark hair and one man with brown hair both wearing grey T shirts and  black masks standing in front of a  red wall filled with  clear saran wrap.

During this pandemic, students across the country have lamented their lack of social interactions, missed their friends, and developed new hobbies to fill their days. The assumption has always been that COVID-19 quarantine is temporary.

Soon, students will be back on campus and the social scene they’ve been missing for the past several months will roar back to life. But by the time life does get back to “normal,” they may have missed out on something much more permanent: growing up. 

Usually, when we think of social-emotional development, we think of babies learning to decode facial expressions or to play with other kids their age. But in actuality, we continue to grow and develop emotionally our entire lives, and one of the most pivotal moments in that development is during college.

This kind of development is another perhaps unavoidable casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone, from kindergartners to college students, has been pulled from their development and left stagnant in safe and unchallenging social isolation.

For college-age people, this is the period of your life where you are supposed to finally grow up. You might learn to live alone or make friends independent of your family. But throughout you have an institution that, if it’s doing its job right, provides you with a little safety net should you fail. 

A dark haired  woman in a green and white striped shirt  with teal fingernails covering her face with a white mask.

The social-emotional development college students gain is hard to measure but incredibly important. It helps students thrive in a non-academic setting, fostering healthy relationships and learning to independently manage themselves.

There are few other times in students’ lives where they can learn to build that network of support around themselves, knowing that they still have an institution to fall back on. 

During this pandemic, many students came back home, their fellow students scattering across the country and the world. One consequence of returning to a childhood home is the risk of reverting back to high school years and lifestyles. In college, many students develop their personalities and new responsibilities that may be stripped away upon returning home.

Social worker, Claire Lerner, wrote in Psychology Today that noticeable regression in children during times of stress is very common, particularly in the time of COVID-19 where stress seems to permeate the air. Even as someone who is technically an adult, when students aren’t in an environment that promotes growth, then it’s all the easier to backslide or at the very least, remain stagnant.

And social-emotional development isn’t just a meaningless phrase—it can have real importance both academically and professionally. One famous study in the Journal of Counseling & Development found that emotional growth was a better indicator of students persisting (not dropping out) than just academic success.

Students who are well-adjusted are able to cope with the stress of academics and social situations in college, and presumably, the real world better than students who merely get good grades and test scores. 

According to another study in the Social Innovations Journal, the real value of a college degree is not necessarily just knowledge actively gained, but in the emotional intelligence and maturity achieved.

David Castro and Cynthia Clyde, the authors of the study, wrote that college is really about learning soft skills, not just technical expertise that is often more job-specific. With school going virtual, students are missing out on the opportunity to develop many of the skills they pointed out like, “communication, negotiation, the ability to work in teams and team-building itself.”

A dark haired woman lying on bed while using laptop and drinking coffee.

As long as social distancing and isolation continue, students will continue to miss out on deeply important social connections and moments of emotional growth. As more and more universities unveil their plans for fall, it looks like fall will be a new edition of “Zoom school” for students around the country.

The only way for schools to safely reopen is if this virus is stopped in its tracks, and this seems to be quite a challenge for the United States as is has so far, failed to do so. Face-to-face interactions are priceless and an essential part of the college experience. Social distancing is not just about missing your friends—it’s also about losing the chance to transition naturally into adulthood.

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