Thank You Spectrum Mondays

By Natalie Cioffari


I think I may be one of the few college students that actually enjoys Monday.

Yes, that’s right. I like Mondays.

It all started three years ago when I accepted the position as assistant arts and entertainment editor. During this time I got into Professor Kabak’s News Writing & Reporting class.

This meant that Sundays and Mondays I would be editing and placing the paper, Tuesdays I would be in the class and the rest of the week I would be writing my article.

Then, the cycle would start all over again, and it would stay like this for the next three years.

It became such a routine that it was second nature to me. I loved being in the office so much that I would schedule my meals and my appointments around it.

Sundays would come and I would hear my roommates and my friends complaining about the starts of a new week and the dreaded Monday.

However, I would wake up feeling energizing, ready to take on the task of whatever Spectrum would bring me. It was something I looked forward to every single week, and I loved that my life became so involved with Spectrum. I really do not think I could imagine my life without Spectrum Mondays.

Does this make me crazy?

Let me answer that for you: maybe.

But really just means that I loved something so much that it gave me such great joy every single week, even if it was on Mondays. Journalism was my passion, and The Spectrum Newspaper brought that out by three hundred percent.

That love would only increase throughout my junior and senior year. I took the head arts and entertainment editor my junior year, and editor in chief my senior year.

My Spectrum Mondays became so much more hectic with the more responsibilities I had.

The anticipation of a new Spectrum Monday gave me so much excitement. Granted there were times where I dreaded coming in because I knew we had a lot of work to do with articles, but hey it’s all a learning experience right?

See, the thing I love about journalism is that it always changes. Your job is never going to stay the same and your task for each day is going to be different.

Spectrum Mondays gave me a sense of purpose. I didn’t care that I had to spend nearly 12 hours in once place, or that I would only eat one meal a day. I loved every second of it.

I am definitely going to miss Spectrum Mondays and having Jess be with my nearly every second of it. She not only became my right hand man in the paper, but my best friend. I am so happy to share a love of journalism with such an amazing human being. I can only wish that we could work together forever.

As I move onto graduation and my master’s degree, I believe that Spectrum Mondays will continue in some way. Yes, I will have moved onto another job within my field, but I will still get to be doing what I love.

If you have something that gives you so much job and happiness, who cares what day of the week you have to go into work? Spectrum Mondays will forever hold a place in my heart, and I hope that my next job will be able to live up to the expectation and greatness I had with Spectrum.

Until then, it’s been a pleasure being your editor in chief.

Good luck to the editorial board next year, you guys are going do great things for this university.

Dear Spectrum:

By Jessica Chaloux

Managing Editor

For the past three years Spectrum has been a focal point of my college career. Now it seems that it’s time to say goodbye.

I’m currently sitting at the one computer that doesn’t have a Mac keyboard as Natalie is yelling about what to headline her editorial even though she doesn’t know her topic yet. Tony is writing his He Said column last minute like every week and Christian is actually paying attention to copy editing.

It’s moments like these that I will really miss… except maybe this darn keyboard, Keith can we get a new one?

Mondays are commonly pinned as the most hated day of the week, but for myself I know I look forward to them. 22 of them to be exact, and as I look back to the beginning of the fall semester it’s amazing to see how much we have improved as writers and as a staff as a whole.

Through all of the rough issues, pun intended, we have all encountered this year, we got through them because of each other. Being a team is what makes Spectrum successful. Another part of the team is our faculty advisor Professor Joanne Kabak who has always been there for the board mentoring us with style and journalistic tips. Spectrum wouldn’t be as successful without you.

My sophomore year I registered for Sacred Heart’s News Writing & Reporting class and that’s where I started with the paper. Junior year I moved up into a copy editor position and now have spent my senior year as the managing editor.

We have had been challenged with the task to assign and write articles, put together your pages and edit every week. Although there had been some rough days, we always managed to pull through with a smile. Even if that smile was from being overtired, it still counts.

Some of the late nights that Natalie and I have pulled Monday into Tuesday are some of the most memorable. We’ve danced on the table tops, eaten countless pizzas and other junk food that I don’t want to mention because I’m already getting hungry just by typing pizza, sang at the top of our lungs very off key and just all around had fun even if we argued sometimes about missing an error.

Although I’ve known Natalie since our pre-fall program freshman year, being in Spectrum together gave me one of my best friends. I’m not sure what I would do without her, I know that sounds sappy, but sappy is my middle name. Heck, we even went to Alpha Delta Pi sorority formal together #BFFgoals (sorry Tony).

Spectrum has given me many friendships that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make otherwise. It’s so strange how SHU students walk amongst each other for years and end up becoming friends in their senior year. I wish I was able to make these friendships my freshman year to have more time with some of my favorite people.

So thank you Spectrum. Thank you for the friendships, learning experiences and solidifying that media and communications is something that I am looking to continue with after graduation in May.

To Alexa, Giovanna and Bryan who will be taking over as Editor-In-Chief and Managing Editors, we will be reading online next year. Can’t wait to see how you, along with the rest of the Spectrum staff, further the growth of this amazing paper.

Here’s to Everyone Who Didn’t Study Abroad

By Jenna Billings

Public Relations Manager 

When selecting the university where I would spend the next four years of my life, I had a list of concerns that I would bring with me on college visits.

The size of the campus, what major options the school had, what clubs were popular…they all seemed of the utmost importance to my 18-year-old self. I remember one particular college visit, though where I was asked a question I had never considered: “Have you thought about whether you might want to study abroad?”

To me, that sounded crazy. Leave the country? I am really close to my family, and the thought of moving three hours from my hometown seemed terrifying enough at the time. So my
knee-jerk response to that student ambassador was, “No, definitely not.”

Now, as a senior, sometimes I think back to that random college visit where I declared to myself that a semester abroad would not be an option I’d ever explore.

While I can’t change my decision, I do think about what I have both lost and gained by not studying abroad in college.

Coming into college, I had a broad idea of what I was interested in, but had no particular career in mind. Another question that terrified my 18 year-old self was “What are you hoping to major in?”

A teacher I had in high school had suggested I try communications or journalism, because I liked to write. I also had a passion for political science, and had a fascination with law, so I thought maybe I would also take some classes in that area.

Four years later, I am graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications Studies with a concentration in Advertising and PR, and minors in Honors Studies, Political Science and Business.

All this, not because I could not make up my mind, but because my schedule permitted me to take five to six classes every semester because I did not go abroad.

This isn’t to say I don’t sometimes wish I did. Pictures flooding my social media feeds of my friends and sorority sisters sipping wine in Tuscan vineyards or hiking in the Alps occasionally sparked daydreams about having my own international adventure.

But what I have come to discover is that although I may have lost out on the unique experiences I could have had in another country, I have gained a great deal by staying right here.

College was my adventure. Acquiring knowledge in three major subject areas helped me find my passion. Discovering life-long friends helped my through some of the hardest times of my life.

Most of all, the adventure I have had over the last four years has been finding myself.

Everyone is different, and many attribute self-discovery to their study abroad experience.

But for me, a person who once thought small hometown life would be all I would ever want, college was about stepping out of my comfort zone, and I can say that even though I didn’t cross borders, I did that.

I Live For The Applause

By Melissa O’Rourke

Asst. Photography Editor 

The lights go out and I take my place on the dark stage. The crowd is completely silent as I anxiously wait for the lights to come back on. I feel my heart beating in my chest as the lights go up and the music starts to play. Not even three minutes later, I hit my final pose as the audience explodes with cheering and clapping. This is the moment that I live for.

Some of my earliest memories are from when I started to dance when I was 2-years-old. There was nothing better than being a “tiny-tot.” I remember walking into dance class with my pink tutu ready to become a ballerina. The best part was getting a lollipop at the end of class.

Slowly, dance became a very large part of my life. It became more serious, but it helped me to become the person that I am today.

I owe a lot to my dance teachers for helping me to come out of my shell when I was an awkward middle schooler. These women were always people that I looked up to. If I was too scared to try a new dance move, they encouraged me to try. If I fell, they were there to help me up. Whenever I was beginning to feel discouraged, they pushed me to keep going. They helped me to gain the confidence that I have today.

Dance slowly became an escape for me. After a long day of school, I always look forward to a few hours in the studio to get away from reality. The studio is almost like a second home to me; it is somewhere that I feel safe. My dance friends are my family.

Not only did dance give me confidence, but it also helped me learn how to be competitive in the best way possible. I learned how to compete with my peers in a positive manner.

Dance helped me learn how to have faith in myself and perform on a stage in front of hundreds of people without even being slightly nervous.

Joining the dance ensemble at Sacred Heart was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Coming in as a scared freshman, the girls of the ensemble welcomed me with open arms and made me feel so comfortable.

Any worries that I had about college slowly started to fade away as I formed friendships with people who have become some of my best friends.

Performing on stage went from being a nightmare to being one of my favorite things to do. Even though countless hours in the studio, tons of bruises and months of rehearsals only count for a few minutes on the stage, it is so worth it.

There is no feeling that compares to the adrenaline rush that I get while dancing on stage. After hitting all of my moves, even the one that I thought I would mess up, hearing the audience cheering me on is an incredible experience.

I would not trade those few minutes on stage for anything. With only one more year of dance ensemble ahead of me, I plan on giving it my all.

“Growing Up”

By Kelly Gilbert

As a child, my house was filled to the brim with Barbie Dolls, tea sets and enough princess dresses to make even the biggest Disney fanatic sick.

Shoved in the corners of our quaint playroom were Polly Pockets, stuffed animals of every species, and if you looked hard enough, sometimes you could find traces of my mother’s makeup that one of us girls had stolen and then hidden for safekeeping in the mess.

Despite the abundance of toys to choose from, that never stopped me and one of my three younger sisters from arguing over which toy belonged to whom.

The arguments would often erupt into full on screaming matches and even tug-o-war style war tactics all in an effort to steal back the toy that was rightfully one of ours.

But as my sisters and I continued to grow up, arguments in the playroom seemed to become less important. Instead, the pressure of serving as the oldest of four girls pushed its way past toy room banter and to the surface of my priorities.

As the oldest daughter, I soon took on the title of designated babysitter by age 14. Gourmet Mac and Cheese chef came the following year, soon after I could add personal chauffeur, and even referee when things amongst them started to get out of hand.

At the time I begrudgingly took on these roles each time my parents asked me to, all the while mumbling angrily under my breath as I agreed.

In the midst of my teenage angst, I looked at my little sisters as my weekend-plan-ruiners, or three of the world’s best patience-testers. Never once did I consider them to be much more than that, until the day came that I wouldn’t be living at home anymore.

As I packed my bags for Sacred Heart University, I realized that simply taking along picture of these three little pains in the neck wouldn’t be the same.

Who was going to bother me until I lost any ounce of patience left in my body? Who was going to steal my clothes and then deny it for weeks? Who was going to sneak in desert before dinner with me?

I had truly taken each of their unique personalities for granted while I was just a hallway away from them, and I was sad to say that I would miss their annoying-ness just as much as I was going to miss New York bagels.

Being their older sister has taught me so much more than any textbook, or professor could.

I credit the many years of being frustrated with them as an important gateway, which taught me patience and to work under pressure. Being responsible for them for so many years proved that I could handle more than just worrying about myself.

Not only that, but I learned to multi-task during my many years of babysitting my sisters, and also how to simultaneously serve as both a mentor, a referee, and a friend.

The lessons that being the oldest of four girls has taught me has stuck with me throughout my college years, and has most definitely helped shape me into the reliable, responsible, and empathetic woman I am today.

So, I suppose, next time I go home to New York to visit my family, in addition to grabbing a bagel, I should thank each of my sisters for being the most difficult yet lovable little humans I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.

“Beware the Ides of March”

By Jessica Lewis

“Beware the Ides of March.” Having a birthday that falls on March 15, this saying is something I have heard all my life.

Historically, the warning refers to the day Julius Caesar was assassinated. William Shakespeare then dramatized this warning in his play he named “Julius Caesar.” In the play, the ominous warning was uttered to foreshadow his death.

Given this past March’s weather, it looks like the students at Sacred Heart should have taken the eerie warning associated with the month more seriously.

This past March has brought a lot of unpredictable weather. By mid-March, most are eagerly anticipating a break from winter’s wrath. This year, the week of March 15 followed our school’s spring break. Instead of a warm welcome back to campus from paradise, students were hit with a frigid reminder that winter was not going down without a fight.

Although Snowstorm Stella was an MVP for her hand in the cancellation of classes, she dumped a lot of unwanted responsibility onto Sacred Heart’s students.

Now don’t get me wrong, like most students, my roommates and I love snow days as they usually consist of non-stop eating and watching movies all day, but deep down we are over the bitter cold weather.

I am tired of big winter coats, snow boots and wondering where my shovel is. The beauty of a snow-covered campus has lost its charm and digging out my car has never had any appeal. Winter is officially over and warmer weather is on the brain. Spring has hit and the snow piles that have commandeered valuable parking spots on campus are very disheartening. With even less parking spaces available, finding a spot and getting to your classes on-time now seems like a spin-off of “The Hunger Games.”

Daylight savings time came and went but the cold weather still remains. I will happily lose an hour of sleep if it means retiring my ice melt for the season.

My roommates and I have an arsenal of Zyrtec, Claritin and tissues, willing to welcome the sneezing and itchy eyes that springtime allergies bring if it means no more snow. Even the birds outside my window are ready for the weather to break. They have not skipped a beat this past week, unapologetically waking me up at the crack of dawn to let everyone know that they’re ready for spring.

Events like Spring Fest are right around the corner and my sandals, dresses and array of colorful sunglasses have found their way to the front of my closet.

As we finish out the last week of March, reap the benefits of daylight savings time, and recover from an unpredictable month of weather, I can’t help but wonder what April will bring.

As for me, I’ll be dreaming of warmer days and looking forward to breaking out my sunscreen and swapping the ice scrapper in my trunk for my beach chair.

The Meaning of Mononucleosis

By Alexandra Padalino

The date was Jan. 9, 2017. The date I found out that I had mononucleosis. The date that changed everything for a few months. The date that in some, weird, twisted way, I am thankful for.

After feeling exhausted for a week without reason, I decided to go the doctor, something wasn’t right. Never did I think I would be diagnosed with a condition that would put me on the sidelines for an extended period of time.

Per WebMD, mononucleosis, or mono as it is commonly referred to, is defined as “a common illness that can leave you feeling tired and weak for weeks or months. Mono goes away on its own, but lots of rest and good self-care can help you feel better.”

Prior to having mono I was constantly going at 100 miles per hour. I was the college student involved in way too many activities, spreading myself way too thin, with little to no time to relax. Sleep became a luxury, rather than a priority.

I’m sure some of you can relate.

Mono was my body asking me to slow down. As I look back, I realize mono was in some way a blessing in disguise.

While resting for weeks on end, I realized a thing or two. My hope is that whoever reads this and sees a bit of themselves in me, learns from this article and takes a step back without mono forcing them to do so.

Mono gave me the opportunity to think. Not in a day-to-day, what am I doing tomorrow way. When you are left with nothing but time, you think deeply. About your future, your goals and your life in general. Everything you’ve wanted to ponder but couldn’t seem to find the time for is suddenly right there in the forefront of your mind.

Mono helped me to see that I was not pursuing my passions as much as I could have been. Now, my priorities have shifted
a bit.

Social engagements are few and far between you when you have mono. I get it, no one wants to catch the virus that puts them in bed for 60 days. It’s during that time span when you find out who matters. Those who care will call, text and FaceTime. Those who don’t, simply put, won’t.

Friendships aren’t built on seeing each other every day, but rather a foundation that’s unbreakable no matter the time or distance apart.

Naps became my best friend during this time. Remember all those naps that you refused to take as a child? Well luckily, they don’t expire. I cashed them all in and then some. Rest is the only cure for mono, listening to your body is vital in the recovery process. Instead of pushing through times of unbearable exhaustion as I did in the past, I now shut my laptop and my eyes to take a power nap.

Mono taught me that life will go on. Others are willing to help pick up what you have to put down for the time being. Everything that you leave behind will still be there two months later and jumping right back in to your roles is a seamless process once you’re better.

The American way of life is to drink a cup of coffee and carry on. Our way of pushing through fatigue and forgoing proper rest is not conducive to our body’s needs, putting our health at risk.

Invincibility exists in superheroes, not humans.

I appreciate everyone who stood by me through my months of mono. Especially my roommate (sorry I went MIA for two months). As National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kevin Durant said, “You’re the real MVP.”

Now that I am back at full strength, I have a new outlook and appreciation for each day. Illnesses have a funny way of putting things in perspective and I am grateful for the lifelong lessons mono has taught me.

It’s Most Certainly Not Called Gym-NICE-stics

By Alexa Brisson

Photography Editor

According to, gymnastics is one of the hardest sports in the world. The strength that it demands, both physically and mentally give gymnastics the title of one of the most challenging sports. While gymnasts complain about their absence of a social life, excruciating injuries, and abnormal bodies, gymnastics still seems to steal our hearts every single time.

I began gymnastics when I was two years old. My grandma enrolled me in the hope that I would come out of my shell. Yes, I was that shy awkward child, but my grandma’s plan proved to be very successful.

As I continued, coaches noticed how naturally strong and flexible I was. I also proved to have the mindset of a competitive gymnast, which entails determination, focus, and most importantly passion.

I began performing at a competitive level when I was eight years old. From then on I was hooked. I practiced four hours a day, five days a week. I gave up school dances, hanging out with my friends, football games and all of the other fun things that a typical child gets to experience, but my passion to excel in this sport was way too strong to stop me.

Gymnastics challenges both your body and your mind. I pushed my body to do things that probably should be illegal. Running until being sick, conditioning so hard you could barely walk the next day, and lift sessions that push you to your limits was all done to ensure that I would be in the best shape in order to improve my skills, and that wasn’t even the worst part.

The interesting thing about gymnastics is that your biggest opponent is not even the opposing team member, but yourself. For example, coaches tell you that you must flip six feet over a four-inch beam or you will never move to the next level. Yeah, I’d like to see my linebackers do that. Even though you are scared stiff because you could possibly smash your face on the beam, you have to find it somewhere in you to push yourself past your mind full of fear in order to complete the skill.

That is why I love gymnastics. It is the only thing that can challenge me more than I challenge myself. I am completely in control of the outcome. I can’t depend on my team members to force me to complete a skill, even though they always encourage me to do so. You can’t blame anyone if you don’t do well at a meet; you simply realize that you have to put in more gym time. Consistency is key in the sport of gymnastics.

If you ask anyone to describe me in one word, almost everybody would say consistent. I am consistent with every single part of my life from gymnastics, to schoolwork and extracurricular activities. I am one of the most dependable people I think I know and I have gymnastics to thank for that.

As I approach my final meet, I think about all that this sport has given me such as a good work ethic, dependability, some of my best friends, time management skills and responsibility. Gymnastics has truly shaped me into the person I am today. I gave up many things that I will never have the opportunity to get back, but I gained so much more in the long run.

So, thank you gymnastics for being there for me when no one else was. Thank you for challenging me and pushing me past my limits. Thank you for letting me take my anger out on you, and finally thank you for giving the strength to do what people say is impossible.

Learn to Laugh at Yourself

By Gabriella Nutile 

Co-Copy Editor & Features Editor

One of the biggest life lesson’s I have learned throughout my 21 years is that you need to learn to laugh at yourself.

I think I have become an expert at this. I have had more than my fair share of embarrassing moments, and I’ve learned to take each one in stride and laugh it off because honestly life is too short to take it so seriously.

My best friend and I write each other letters every year for our birthdays that consist of anywhere from 10 to 15 pages with memories that we’ve had since we became close in sixth grade. I would say that more than half of the memories contained in the letters pertain to my hilarious, yet sometimes very awkward, situations that have and keep occurring in my life.

For instance, there is one classic moment that happened in my life in eighth grade that always ends up in our letters.

Back in the day when I was actually decent at math, my friend and I were both in our advanced math class that was taught by Sister Ellen. We each went to our seats, and when I sat down I immediately knew something was wrong with my chair.

I looked over to my friend and asked her to switch with me, whining that the chair I was sitting in was hurting my lower back and too low to the ground. She insisted on not switching, so I was stuck with this chair.

After a few minutes I could not take it anymore, so I went to get up and at this exact moment Sister Ellen and a few boys walked into our classroom. And as I was in the midst of getting up from this unpleasant chair, the legs underneath it gave out and I fell backwards onto the ground with my legs literally flailing in the air.

Now, I’ve gone to Catholic school my whole life and up until college I always wore a uniform, which included a kilt. So there I was with both my legs up in the air with my kilt hanging on my face as I was on the ground. Thank God (pun intended) that I had shorts on underneath or else things would have gone even more awry.

While my best friend was laughing hysterically, I was very much struggling to get up. After my third attempt, I finally got my feet on the ground and my kilt back down to where it should be, and there was Sister Ellen, her face mortified and full of pity; I can still picture it now.

I had the whole class in hysterics, and I just remember looking around and became so happy that I could make my peers laugh that hard. I didn’t mind that they were laughing because I realized how funny it was too and I started cracking up at myself as well. Making others laugh has always been one of my favorite things to do, regardless if it’s at my own expense.

At the end of this whole scenario, Sister Ellen walked up and looked at the chair, picked up the two broken legs and said, “I don’t think we can fix this.” And while we couldn’t fix that chair, what we can fix is our outlook on life.

Being able to laugh at yourself, I believe, is imperative to living a happy life and also shows you have a sense of humor. Laughter is the best medicine, and it’s free, so take advantage of it as much as you can.

The Philosophy of Socks

By Alexa Binkowitz 

Co-News Editor

Last time we spoke over here, I ended up telling a story about a problem I had with Pop-Tarts. Although they completely betrayed me, Pop-Tarts ended up sucking me back into their complicated loyalty system of weakness and free products.

However, this time I’ll be discussing something else very important to me that I feel isn’t debated enough, and that’s the issue of fun socks.

If you are initially confused by what I mean, please take a seat and let me explain.

I’m sure deep within your sock drawer, maybe buried underneath the calf-length white Nike socks, or the black ankle socks you wear while contemplating your life on the treadmill, are pairs of socks you would only have the guts to wear with jeans that will definitely cover your ankles or maybe with high, yet fashionable boots.

I would like to take this time to advocate for the fun socks that are not appreciated enough because they deserve a voice of expression too.

Those socks, sometimes called “fun socks” by experts, are actually the most important pieces of clothing a person could own.

I personally believe that fun socks are the only way to honestly and positively know a person. At the very least, they’re great conversation starter.

Despite prior belief, socks are actually the windows to the soul.

In fact, one afternoon, I was casually browsing the fun sock collection in Target when a woman walked up and stood next to me, definitely deep in thought.

After a few uneventful minutes, she turned to me and asked if I liked the taco socks or the watermelon socks better.

Initially caught off guard by her intimate question, I knew that this was a crucial moment in history, because this woman would be choosing a pair of fun socks that could possibly define her personality to others in the future.

This woman, with no prior knowledge of my life or what I cared about, was on the brink of knowing me on a more personal level because of the choice I was going to make.

With full confidence, I told her I liked the taco socks better because truthfully, I hated watermelons and would never wear a sock that depicted something I didn’t like. Right then and there, a stranger knew a personal secret about me because she asked about my fun sock preferences. It’s really as simple as that.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that fun socks are a huge part of humanity that a lot of people ignore.

Will I really pull out my flamingo ankle socks and wear them to an important interview? I absolutely will.

Would I really wear my knee-high squirrel socks to church or to a holiday dinner? Of course I would.

Did I wear my pineapple socks to a Hawaiian themed party feeling like I was straight out of “Moana?” Yes I did.

So, what I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to push those boring white socks to the back of the drawer every once in a while.

Leave those sad black socks for a depressing night of watching Rose leaving Jack alone in the water in “Titanic” when he easily could have fit on the door with her.

Life is short and so are some ankle socks, so you won’t even see them if you don’t want to look lame.

Don’t be afraid to make a statement here and there, I promise you won’t regret it.

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