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Why Quarantine is Exacerbating Eating Disorder Behaviors

Katherine Feinstein

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The COVID-19 quarantine period has been a trying time for everyone, especially those with preexisting mental health conditions. However, people with eating disorders have had an increasingly difficult time coping and continuing recovery. The world in quarantine has created a completely controlled and rigid environment and has exacerbated and perpetuated the comforts of eating disorder behaviors.

Quarantine and Stay At Home orders across the country have dictated that everyone stay home, close their businesses, and give up their established daily schedules. While this complete upheaval of everyday life has proven to be challenging for many, those struggling with eating disorders have faced increased triggers and obstacles in their battle for recovery.

A common misconception about eating disorders is that recovery is a single point in time where someone completely overcomes their disease and it ceases to be a problem. In reality, survivors live with their eating disorders their entire lives, and recovery involves learning to make choices in spite of it.

Recovery has its ups and downs, and people with eating disorders still get triggered, struggle to cope, and go through periods of relapsing or turning to past behaviors.

Quarantine is a stressful life event that has created an extremely triggering environment. Thus, there are several specific factors of the current quarantine world that have exacerbated eating disorder behaviors.

1. Quarantine reignites the need for people with eating disorders to regain control and stability in their lives.

Eating disorders are rooted in a need for control, and thus many people who have an eating disorder develop the disease during a time in their life where they feel unstable. When everything else in someone’s life is spiraling and they’re helpless, an eating disorder provides a way to regain stability.

No matter what happens in their life, they can always control what they eat and the scale. Quarantine is the perfect catalyst for the grips of an eating disorder to tighten, as it strips everyone of the comforts of their lifestyle and schedule.

Though someone in recovery may have learned to take control of their life through a healthy outlet such as a steady job, relationship, or routine, quarantine has taken away those established outlets. And, as eating disorders are a lifelong battle, the need for the stabilizing rituals of these diseases is reignited.

2. The closing of gyms and food establishments takes away potential coping mechanisms and access to ‘safe foods.’

Another key component of coping with an eating disorder is establishing a new mindset and relationship towards exercise and eating. Many survivors do this by viewing exercise as a mental health outlet and establishing feel-good workouts that aren’t triggering but are instead uplifting.

Gyms and certain fitness studios, then, may become safe havens and places of comfort for those in recovery. Similarly, eating disorder patients must learn to view food as a pleasurable activity and experience rather than an act that is directly correlated to fitness or the scale.

They may have ‘safe foods’ or certain restaurants that can be approachable, go-to places on a day where it is more challenging to eat.

In quarantine, recoveries no longer have access to all of these fitness and food establishments that they have grown to feel safe at. In turn, they may be triggered to turn back to old ways of thinking in leaning on exercise and food rules to cope.

3. The current narrative of the social media fitness community encourages people to use this time in Quarantine to ‘get fit’ or go on a diet.

Quarantine has people living in a state of limbo where most are working from home, stuck in the house all day, and have little to no structure in their lives.

Thus, diet culture dictates that now is the perfect time to upend your eating habits and ‘less-than-adequate’ exercise routine and transform yourself. The logic is that having more time and a less structured daily routine automatically and universally means people must attempt a complete fitness metamorphosis.

In reality, this irrational connection between having extra time and impulsively filling it with exercise and a dieting routine is exactly what eating disorders are built on: reestablishing order.

Social media is constantly perpetuating that people must take back control and do something productive during this time, similarly to how eating disorder behaviors serve to fill a void of instability. For people in recovery, this fitness narrative on social media is extremely triggering and threatens to hinder the progress made to reinvent one’s relationship with food and exercise.

4. Living in quarantine prevents in-person sources of support such as therapists, friends, and loved ones.

Eating disorder recovery is no small feat, and many patients undergo family and group therapy in order to integrate their loved ones into their journey and coping strategies. They become accustomed to having support and encouragement around them, as well as having go-to people that understand their triggers and needs.

In quarantine, many people have been confined to either their family homes, or even to apartments where they may live alone. Without access to a support system or people they know can reliably provide an outlet when life gets stressful, people in eating disorder recovery may feel especially alone and misunderstood.

In this way, the isolating aspect of quarantine can be especially exacerbating for eating disorders.

5. Family stressors and lack of freedom causes people to feel trapped and creates a need for an outlet.

Familial unrest and turmoil can be one of the ultimate triggers for eating disorders. Family members are constant people in your life that you don’t necessarily choose, and thus family conflict can be that much more overwhelming and consuming.

Quarantine creates a scenario where many people are trapped in the middle of this conflict and don’t have the option to leave or take time alone to cool down. In eating disorder recovery, family therapy can often be the most rigorous piece of the healing process, and patients may spend months addressing each relationship and emotion.

In quarantine, these emotions and conflicts are constantly in your face, and people with eating disorders may feel forced to turn inward and push others away. This creates a scenario where, again, eating disorder behaviors become exacerbated and that much more attractive as a coping mechanism.

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How to Support the Black Lives Matter Movement in the Long Run

Anna Leikvold

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A black women with brown curly hair, face mask and black jacket on, standing at a BLM protest holding a sign that says "listen learn."
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The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, prompted outrage across the nation and world. The fight to end police brutality is far from over, and the most important thing to do is to not let this movement lose momentum. The end goal is to never have another man, woman, or child of color brutalized or killed by the police. 

As a white person, I understand my privileged position, and hope only to share my personal goals to support the movement, and hope to help others do the same. Here are 7 things you can personally do to support the Black Lives Matter movement in the long run and bring us one step closer to achieving that goal. 

1. Support black-owned businesses in your area and around the world. 

Do some research into your area or shop online with these companies to help them grow. This is one of the many ways to empower non-white communities and help create lasting impacts. Shift away from large chains as much as you can. Here is a list of 75 black-owned businesses with incredible products you can start supporting now. 

2. Educate yourself

Especially for white people. Continue to learn and understand this movement. Listen to podcasts, read books and articles, and watch movies. Most importantly, listen to the messages of black people around you and work to understand. Educating yourself about these issues is a lifelong commitment. Understand that you will never fully understand, but do your absolute best.

Know that the more you learn, the better of an ally you can be for everyone around you. “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander or “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo are some great books to start or continue with self-education. If you want to see a movie to self-educate, “13th” and “Just Mercy” are two of the many great options.  Educate yourself so you can better inform people around you. 

A sign on a black background that reads LIBERATE NEW YORK CITY, ABOLISH THE POLICE, #ShutDownCityHallNYC
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3. Use your social media presence.

Keep using your social media platform to spread important messages and create your own messages. Share information with friends and family members, and turn skeptics into allies. For white people especially, work hard to make other white people in your communities understand this massive problem. Understand the privilege you have in this movement and use it to have hard conversations. Don’t post your normal content. It is really important to keep social media as a platform for change. It is a simple thing to do that makes a big difference. 

4. Think local.

Local politics are crucial in changing policing systems. This means putting pressure on city council members, mayors, judges, and other representatives to make a difference. This isn’t as difficult as you may think. You can easily locate contact information for elected officials in your area, and send letters and emails demanding justice and change in the system. This also means staying more informed about local legislation and elections. Protest when necessary and make your voice heard. These elected officials are there to represent your wishes in government, so demand that they do so. Know the names of your city and state representatives and hold them accountable. 

5. Make recurring donations.

While many people have donated to organizations recently, it is crucial that these organizations continue receiving financial assistance from those who can afford it. A great way to do this is to commit to a recurring monthly donation. This amount can be small, but consistency is what will keep the organizations strong throughout this long fight. Do a lot of research about where you are donating so you feel confident in the organization you are supporting. 

An African American woman holding a sign that reads, "Tired of making a banner."
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6. Vote in all upcoming elections. 

This goes without saying for most, but we need policy changes both federally and locally, and it is so important to vote for officials and policies you believe in. Stay informed and up to date always. There is no room to be ignorant about politics now. 

7. For White People: Remember your privilege. 

It is very common for movements such as this one to die out because people go back to their day-to-day lives. In this case, white people have the privilege of not having to fear police brutality every single day, and it becomes easy to forget about the violent status quo. Acknowledge that privilege as much as you can and come to resent it. Talk about it and be an ally. Remember this isn’t your fight, but you can help every step of the way if you listen, learn, and understand your place in it all. 

We must imagine a better future for it to ever be possible. In a time of chaos and fear for many, it is important to not become overwhelmed to the extent that we fail to continue fighting for what is right. Take these 7 steps, and some of your own, to continue to support Black Lives Matter in the long run. 

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10 Best Podcasts By College Dropouts That Will Inspire You

Anna Anderson

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A close-up of a young brown-haired lady wearing a black coat and large headphones around her neck.
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College isn’t the right path for everyone, and people don’t need it to succeed in life. If you are thinking about dropping out of college or already have, you can still do great things. This list of podcasts addresses dropping out of college and the steps a person can take to achieve their dreams.

Podcast #1 Successful dropout

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Kylon interviews entrepreneurs who dropped out of college to pursue their careers, and they tell their stories of success. He also gives advice on how to deal with dropping out of college, from convincing parents to beliefs dropouts should adopt. 

Length: The podcasts range from 10 min to an hour

Format: Interview Podcast

Reviews: 5/5 out of 59 ratings

Recommended for: Anyone looking to be inspired by the work of many diverse college dropouts.

Podcast #2 Typical Misfit

An animated picture of a dark haired young man with a beard and wearing a beige shirt in front of a Mexican restaurant.

Dillon Alexander is a college dropout who became a standup comedian. He talks about various topics through his podcast including stories of his relationships, politics, and life philosophies.

Length: The podcasts range from 20 min to 90 min, but the majority are around half an hour. 

Format: solo/monologue

Reviews: 5/5 out of 12 ratings

Recommended for: Anyone looking to laugh and do some soul searching.

Podcast #3 The Knight’s Tale

Some "Old English" style text saying, "The Knight's Tale" with a knight in front of it drinking coffee and a mic icon next to it in a dark red and grey background.

Robert Woods dropped out of college, but with the right attitude, he found success. In the podcast, he interviews entrepreneurs and gives inspirational advice to those considering dropping out of college.

Length: The podcasts range from 1 min to 40 min, most clocking in at under 10 min. 

Format: Monologue and interview

Reviews: 5/5 out of 6 ratings

Recommended for: Those who want short but rich content.

Podcast #4 Shawn B Speaks Truth

A buzzed hair man wearing a black T shirt sitting next to a dark-haired woman wearing a multi-colored tanktop in a studio room.

Shawn B talks about his struggles with poverty, dropping out of college, and his experiences. He also talks about Detroit, the city where he grew up.

Length: 8 min to 30 min

Format: Monologue/Solo and Interview

Reviews: 4.8/5 out of 4 ratings

Recommended for: Someone who wants to hear about an in-depth life story and the ideas that rose from it.

Podcast #5 The College Dropout Podcast

Some fancy black and red text saying "The College Dropout" with a small graduation hat on top  in a grey background.

The podcast aims to motivate and guide college dropouts. The host interviews entrepreneurs and shares positive life philosophies.

Length: 4 min to 45 min, widely varied

Format: Solo/monologue and Interview

Reviews: 5/5 out of 1 review

Recommended for: People who want to hear some fresh advice about their career path.

Podcast #6 The Tai Lopez Show

White text saying "The Tai Lopez Show" in a black background with a man wearing glasses and a formal uniform in front of an orange car.

Tai Lopez dropped out of college and became an entrepreneur. In his podcasts, he interviews the top entrepreneurs and suggests the best life lesson books for his listeners to read.

Length: 3 min to 2 hours, wide ranging with most episodes over 30 min

Format: Solo/monologue and Interview

Reviews: 4.3/5 out of 7.2 k ratings

Recommended for: Someone looking to read and listen to a greater breadth in terms of the interviewees’ careers.

Podcast #7 Knowledge Without College

Circular white text saying "Knowledge Without College" in a black and red background.

Patrick Butler dropped out of college and became an entrepreneur. He encourages all kinds of learning through his interviews, the subjects being of many diverse fields.

Length: 10 min to 90 min, many of the podcasts around an hour

Format: Interview

Reviews: 4.9/5 out of 15 ratings

Recommended for: A series of interviews with greater breadth in terms of the interviewees careers.

Podcast #8 Digital Gandhi

Yellow and white text saying "Digital Ghandi Radio" in a yellow and white background.

Onkar K Khullar or Digital Gandhi encourages listeners who don’t want to live conventional lives. He shares his crazy life stories, including dropping out of college 3 times, and takes his listeners on an adventure. 

Length: 1 min to 15 min

Format: Monologue/solo

Reviews: N/A

Recommended for: Those who want to be in awe.

Podcast #9 Schoolboy and the Dropout

A stick figure guy running and jumping off a black cliff with text saying "Schoolboy and the Dropout".

Two friends from college come together in this podcast, one who dropped out and the other who graduated. Together they talk about college and fitness. 

Length: about an hour long

Format: Conversational/co-hosted

Reviews: 5/5 out of 3 ratings

Recommended for: Someone who wants to hear about two perspectives and contrasting stories.

Podcast #10 The 38

A huge white bus with lots of other colors in front of a building with very small fine print saying 38 Geary on top.

Nikolas Harter hosts the podcast, inspired by the bus that runs past his home. He talks about why the college dropout rate is so high in community colleges and about his life in general. 

Length: 30 seconds to an hour, most over 20 min

Format: Solo/Monologue

Reviews: N/A

Recommended for: Someone who wants to hear another’s life stories.

After listening to the podcasts above, you should feel inspired to go forth and pursue your passions. A wide range of people have done great things without a college education. The podcasts show that dropping out of college doesn’t limit a person’s success and anyone can move forward without it. 

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How to Improve Your Chances of Landing a Remote Job Amidst Coronavirus Unemployment

Katherine Feinstein

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An animated man with no face and a white beard wearing a blue shirt reading a red book on a blue background with a bunch of academic emoticons surrounding him.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the everyday lives of people around the world, including many college students whose summer internships are being halted as a result of the shutdown. However, applying to remote jobs, making connections on LinkedIn, learning new skills, and utilizing internet resources could be the key to still having hope in securing an internship this summer.

Boost your resume with a part-time remote position.

In the wake of this economic downturn and halting of operations, many companies have shortened or moved their summer programs online; a large number of smaller companies have even canceled their internship programs altogether.

Unfortunately, when business is being compromised, interns and internship programs aren’t the top priority for companies. Despite this, many companies are actually creating more unpaid, remote intern positions, since they need fresh minds and extra hands to help their businesses succeed in this difficult economic climate.

Though most college students may still be on the hunt for paid summer internships, an unpaid remote job is the perfect opportunity to help you fill the time during quarantine and get a step closer to finding something you’re passionate about. Depending on what field of work you’re looking for, a remote position can be a great resume-booster, learning experience, and opportunity to try something new.

The new normal might be a bitter pill to swallow for those still hoping for a paid internship; however, if financially doable, marketing yourself as a remote employee who is willing to put in the effort without the pay could eventually lead you to a full-time, paid position in the future.

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Make an extra effort to reach out and connect with potential employers on LinkedIn.

For many college students, LinkedIn is no foreign website. It’s pretty easy to search for employers who are looking for students in your major, or jobs that have titles that appeal to you. However, what many people don’t do is reach out and make connections.

During a time when everyone feels alone and overwhelmed, it’s even more important to seal your online job application with a genuine message to someone who works where you’ve applied. 

Showing employers that you care and have done your research is barely demonstrated by just turning in a resume and cover letter.

In addition to these things, you should also go to the company’s LinkedIn page and see which of their employees are alumni of your school, or have jobs in a similar area of interest as you. Once you’ve pinpointed someone, briefly but genuinely message them asking to schedule a call to talk about their position at said company.

Even if they never respond or the call ends up not being useful—which it probably will be—at the very least you have made sure that someone at the company has seen your name before they read your resume.

Choose a new skill to learn from the list of things common employers look for in your field.

Another way to market yourself during a time when acquiring employment is more difficult is to update your skillset. Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill or strengthen old ones! If you’re not sure what to start with, think of your dream job or a sector of jobs you would love to have.

You can also study the list of things employers look for or see as a plus when hiring, such as proficiency in online programming, outlets like Microsoft Office applications, coding, website-building, or anything else you often see on job applications that deter you from applying.

Even just teaching yourself one computer program or skill makes you a stronger candidate. Not only that, but it’s a great talking point and strength to bring up during an interview as well.

Employers want employees who are hands-on and take initiative, so using this time to teach yourself something new can only help you.

A woman with dark hair with a button-up shirt, working on a MAC laptop.
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Try out different online occupational resources.

Aside from LinkedIn, there are tons of internet resources to help you narrow down what jobs you want and keep you up to date on what’s out there.

Handshake is a great resource for students. The website is similar to LinkedIn, but it is specifically targeted at employers looking to hire college students.

Indeed is also a good option for doing a more pointed job search, as it allows you to do specific searches for jobs in your area and with specific titles that you’re looking for. Unlike LinkedIn, Indeed is not ideal for networking and is really just used for a narrowed job search.

CareerBuilder is perhaps the perfect combination of the two, as it has thorough job search options and networking capabilities, as well as the added bonuses of career advice and a resource center equipped with alerts and articles to keep you informed.

Finally, for students looking for a part-time project or a remote opportunity to help boost their resume during quarantine, Upwork is the perfect resource. Upwork is an online marketplace created to connect freelance workers with employers looking to assign temporary projects and gigs.

Freelancers can search for projects based on categories such as web design or writing, as well as create profiles to market their skills and attract employers looking for their expertise. 

While in-person job fairs and networking events are temporarily suspended, using these online resources could help match you with the best-fit job for you.

Get out there (metaphorically) and persevere!

College students are home from school and the future is up in the air, but online resources, remote jobs, the time to learn a new skill, and making meaningful connections with employers on networking websites like LinkedIn could help secure an opportunity for later.

Though losing a summer internship or having your current job suspended or even canceled are devastating obstacles, the main strategy to keep in mind is that persistence is key.

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