Finding love; a guide to loving yourself

The 21st century has turned women more savage and men into more sensitive human beings, but what has caused this switch up of roles and the desperate need for a superficial relationship with someone just to say that you two are together?

Social media has put the spotlight on a number of popular couples such as Beyoncé and Jay Z, Will and Jada Smith, Dewayne Wade and Gabrielle Union-Wade while touting these couples as “relationship goals.” In reality we don’t see or hear about the problems these couples may face or the sad times unless TMZ strikes again and spreads news about a possible divorce or other problems within their relationships that they wanted to keep private. The only “goal” in these relationships that people envy are the dinner dates, gifts the male gives to the woman and publicly sharing smiling photos or videos of the couple together. Is that it? That’s what the dating pool of the 21st century as of 2017 wants out of a relationship? Just to have the opportunity to showcase on social media a happy photo of you two together? Drake said it best referring to the many “relationship goals” couples, “We look like we’re in love, but only on camera.”
However, society never knows if that couple is honestly happy together; they just go off of pictures.
I have a simple solution for blind-eyed individuals and people set out to have a relationship just like the ones they see on their social media timelines. Get a clue people, learn to be yourself and have your own identity and love your partner your own way. Before we can love someone else we must first learn to love ourselves.

A dramatically huge number of people are either no longer in relationships, haven’t been in a relationship in years; have never been in a relationship to begin with or are simply the “side chick” and don’t know it. Since my last relationship, which feels like a century ago, I decided to pick up the pieces and learn to live and love myself, for myself. Knowing how to love yourself no matter who you are or not with, is the key to being able to teach someone how to love you in return. If you are still on the fence about accepting your flaws and the hurtful things of your past, then how can your partner make you overcome them? It will continue to be a constant battle until you learn for yourself how to let the hurtful things of the past go and embrace your flaws because your flaws are what makes you, you. My advice to the young and beautiful women and men of the 21st century trying to find a way to love themselves: set a day once a week and make it  “your day.” Take yourself out to eat or to a movie, buy yourself a gift that will make you happy, or simply just enjoy the world around you. We all know the saying “If you don’t know how to love yourself first, how can you love someone else?” Therefore, in reality no one loves you more than you. In order for someone to put their all into loving you, you must be able to guide them in the right direction in order to succeed at the task at hand.

Which brings us back to the topic of relationship goals in the 21st century: Get your own! The only goal I would want in a relationship, after I have learned the key points in loving myself and                    sharing that love, is a caring person who loves me for me, someone who supports my ambitions and ideas, and most importantly, good for me not just someone to have on my arm. The main goal in life is to be happy and to share that happiness with someone you have chosen to be with. A small word of advice for my single people loving themselves first. There is still hope; in the meantime, love yourself to the utmost high. The right person will come along when the time is right. I’m wondering myself when that will be for me. Until then I will continue to love myself like no other.




iProtocol: Phone Etiquette

Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE
Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE

Cell phones are everywhere and it seems that everyone has one. From those as young as six to octogenarians, a cell phone seems to be permanently attached to their hands. With this popularity comes a new set of problems; when and where it is appropriate to use them? A cell phone can be used to make calls, but it can also be used for entertainment, gathering and sharing information, banking and music; the list goes on.
Look around any gathering; heads are bent as people look down at their phones. Connecting to this technology doesn’t mean we should disconnect from each other.

If we become more wary of how we conduct ourselves, then we can help facilitate the dying art of personal and intimate conversation without alienating it with modern technology. Here are some tips:

Remember to speak softly; microphones on today’s phones are very sensitive. Be courteous when on a group outing; silence the phone to avoid interrupting conversation or activities; voicemail is there for a reason.       Foul language is always inappropriate when it can be overhead and avoid airing dirty laundry. When with others and expecting a call, ask if it is alright to answer and then step away when the call comes in and be brief. When in places of worship, theatres, libraries or restaurants, always turn the phone off. Even on vibrate, it can still disturb others. If the phone must be kept on, use “silent” mode instead and move away from others to take the call.
Do not text during class or at a meeting-it is unprofessional and disrespectful to the instructor or speaker. Once a text or photo is sent, there is no way to get it back, so be careful about the information shared. Never drive and use the phone at the same time. Common courtesy and common sense equals being in charge of the phone, not the phone being in charge of your world.


Review: Revels 2017 ‘The Sky’s the Limit’


Photo by Tiffany Johnson

The ’Rettes dazzle Dodson Auditorium with the production of Revels, “The Sky’s the Limit” while paying tribute to the late Deana Bolton-Covin, the second instructor of the Rangerettes, who died during the summer of 2016.

When you jump on the ‘Rette Jet 767, buckle up and brace yourself for airport glitz and glam. The show opened with a nostalgic tone, of a time when stewardesses were all young, beautiful women, with a video advertising the theme of Revels, “The Sky’s the Limit.” The show features all of the places the ‘Rettes have traveled this year, including, New York City, Hawaii and Washington D.C.

Early on, we meet our MC, Meghan Robertson, a Rangerette Forever who now resides in New York. Her quirky antics and multiple voices draw the crowd in to get to know a fully developed character. She has her highs, when she performs a Spanish number, and her lows, when casting directors in New York shoot her down after a wonderfully performed musical medley. This will be one of your favorite parts of the show if you are into any kind of musical theatre. The mashup she sings consists of songs from the musicals Rent, Les Miserables, Hairspray and so many more. It’s so perfectly put together; you can’t help but squeal in your seat.

The actual takeoff was intense with an early, polished hip-hop number, with all of the women garbed in a flashy red color. At this point in the show I wondered how many sequins were used in the making of the costumes. Each costume was amazingly bright, blingy and caught my eye, but was never too overwhelming.

When the Rangerettes finally touch down in New York, they were greeted with an urban jungle. Sky scrapers surround the performers. Each destination also came with its own video showing photos and videos from the trip. The Rangerettes were in uniform on surf boards, dancing among tall buildings and mingled at the Black tie and Boot event held in Washington D.C.

During the show, the organization honors Paula Jamerson, retired Coordinator of Alumni Relations. The women also dedicated the second-to-last dance number to remember Deana Bolton-Covin and all of the work she did to “bring the Rangerettes to a new, polished perfection.”

Of course, the managers had their time on the stage, but I want to save the surprise of the actual performance for you. Let’s just say it involves grass skirts and flowers.

The entire performance was an entertainment extravaganza, and I’m sure the Rangerettes would love to have you back on the ‘Rette Jet 767.



Trump’s travel ban ‘doesn’t work in this modern era’

One of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official actions following his inauguration ceremony was to sign an executive order to bar citizens of seven Muslim-dominated countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days. He also suspended the admission of all refugees into the country for 120 days. The barred countries are Syria, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.

Take a look at Syria: perhaps there is no war-torn country on Earth more than Syria. The war has been going on for more than six years and about 400,000 people have died since the war started. This number includes innocent children and citizens who have nothing to do with the political issues tearing the country apart.

Yemen has also been war-torn. Hospitals and schools were bombed and the future of the country is dark because of the radical Muslims who took over most of the country. Iran has a high rate of unemployment. Iraq has been struggling to get back on its feet ever since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world. People scavenge for food and clothes from the municipal garbage dump and most of the kids don’t attend school because there are no educational resources. Libya was once a great country and used to be one of the richest countries in Africa. Its citizens enjoyed the benefits of the country’s vast oil wealth, but ever since the leader was executed in 2011, it has not been the same. Libya has not seen a stable government since the death of Moammar Gadhafi. Isis has blended into the country and consequently they are now controlling some parts of the country.

Somalia has been a war-stricken country ever since I can remember. When I was growing up in Africa, all we knew about Somalia was that it was a very dangerous country to go visit and people were killed or kidnapped if they tried.

All of these countries have two major things in common: they are all Muslim dominated and they are all poverty stricken.

As an immigrant living in the United States, I have had an opportunity to experience both sides of the world. Just because one is from a Muslim-dominated country, it doesn’t make them a terrorist or a danger to society. Most of these people coming to seek refuge in America have good intentions, which is a better life and better future for their kids. President Trump overlooks the fact that we are all human beings and if he were to be put in the same shoes, he would be doing the same: trying to seek greener pastures.

His executive order also affects the immigrants who come here legally. The illegal immigrants who jump through the water and land from Mexico are not affected, yet those are the ones he should be focusing on. As an immigrant I work and pay taxes just like everyone and I’m legally registered in the system. I had to apply for a visa before I came here and I had to provide evidence to prove I wasn’t affiliated with a gang or terrorist group. These people being banned from entering the US include green card holders who have no criminal record and some of them have lived here for more than 20 years. President Trump is separating families. Some of these immigrants stuck on the other side of the world have children here who are U.S. citizens by birth and now they can’t visit their families. No man is an island and we as a nation need other countries for trade; and what he is doing is tearing apart relations with other countries. What makes it worse is some of these nations might retaliate against us and this will affect innocent citizens who have no political affiliations. Some world leaders have already reacted harshly to Trump’s executive order by suspending immigration and visas for U.S. citizens trying to visit or do business in other countries, mainly those with a majority of Muslim populations. Trump’s ideology is an egocentric, narcissistic idea that doesn’t work in this modern era.


Fungai Peta is a Communications Major from Zimbabwe, Africa


Freedom and Accountability

Freedom and liberty. The words invoke several meanings and emotions to different people. They are some of the first values we come to learn and respect at a young age in the United States — their concepts taught as intrinsic to our way of life, though they’re not exclusive to this country.

However, there is an unspoken condition that comes with the concepts of freedom and liberty: accountability. For every action that we take there is a consequence, be it good or bad.

Freedom of speech is the most used and misunderstood of the liberties we enjoy. With it we are free to share our thoughts, opinions and beliefs among each other, although many mistake this as a pass to say anything they want without consequence. A classic argument for this concept is that one cannot, or rather should not, yell, “Fire!” and cause a panic when there is none. A person who does so would face trouble and cause negative consequences to himself and others.

One notorious example would be Westboro Baptist Church, which has grown infamous over the years with their protests of the funerals of soldiers and gay people. They act within the law but are also rather despised by the general population. Their actions and beliefs may be considered reprehensible by some people but  their freedom to protest to do so is intrinsic to everyone else.
The right to protest is an important cornerstone in the foundation of a free society, although recent events in our nation have left its future in a dubious position.
Just months after several major protests on various issues swept across the nations, several Republican leaders have proposed bills that would criminalize certain protests. For example, in Colorado, Republican state senator, Jerry Sonnenberg, has introduced a bill that would greatly increase penalties for environmental protesters. Under the proposed law, obstructing or tampering with oil and gas equipment would be reclassified from a misdemeanor to a “class 6” felony, a category of crime that reportedly can be punished by up to 18 months behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000.

While the creation of these bills is touted as safety concerns, the language of the bills are vague and troublesome, raising questions as to whether our government leaders are more focused on protecting the sanctity of our liberties or corporate interests.

Despite the unclear nature of these bills, most of the responsibility lies on the citizens of this country. This also includes the issues that exist directly as a result of our collective apathy toward our local governments. If we truly hold these freedoms dear, then we must do more than dismiss any attempt to unravel them. We must constantly hold ourselves and our leaders accountable in order to show our true appreciation for our liberties.


Refresh, give back some of yourself over Spring Break

Spring Break

Charity starts at home is an old phrase, but one that still holds a lot of truth. Our lives are made up of a series of choices and the decisions we make can either improve this world or keep it exactly the same. A small sacrifice of your time could mean the difference between an individual having the basic necessities of life, and having nothing. Even if your contribution doesn’t make a huge difference, it can still impact someone’s life and brighten their day.

Instead of spending your spring break partying or sleeping, consider volunteering for a local charity, joining an organization, or making donations to a cause. You could also offer to clean up an area of your community, visit nursing homes, or something as simple as paying a compliment.

One cause that you can donate to is the KC Food Pantry, which is low on supplies due to an increase in student use. Donations can be dropped off in Dr. Mike Jenkins’ office in the Devall Student Center. In particular, they are looking for: canned meals (Chef-Boy-R-Dee, Campbell’s and Spaghetti O’s); tuna and pasta meals (Zatarain’s, Knorr and Uncle Ben’s); breakfast items (pastries and cereal); and baking mixes.

Female students can also join the newly formed KC Golden Z Club, which is affiliated with Zonta International and The Zonta Club of Greater East Texas. The club advocates for women’s rights as well as protection against violence. Their meetings will be held in the Woodfin Center Conference Room at a time and date to be determined. For more info, call Charleen Worsham at 903-988-3700.

Helping a small group of people might not seem like much, but it is still a change which ultimately means progress and a difference in someone’s life or well-being.

Lose your fake friends, find your real friends


One of the most challenging obstacles I had growing up was being able to distinguish genuine friendships from fake friendships. I’ve given too many people too many chances, and ended up being burned in the end.

Several of these circumstances could’ve been solved if I had simply stood up for myself. In 2017 I made a New Year’s resolution to be less docile. Passivity has been one of the biggest burdens in life, and I’m determined to put that to rest.

Photo by Richard Nguyen/THE FLARE

In this past year I have lost two friends, which has made me realize how toxic they really were in my life. We shared tears, laughs, and many great adventures throughout friendships, but the bonds I had built ended up being very much one-sided. I had one friend admit to not caring about me, she just enjoyed using me and one friend who completely shut me out because she was moving away to college and didn’t want to deal with me anymore; however, these friendships were not a waste of time. Having people like them in my life has made me grow and flourish as a person and be more aware of a person’s intentions. It also revealed to me the person I never wanted to become.

Listen to your parents when they question if your friend is genuine. Most of the time they are able to spot your fake friends before you are. Do not place your trust in everyone you meet. Believe it or not, not everyone is as loyal as you. Most of the time, the information you shared with said “friend,” won’t stay between the two of you. There are friends you can have a great time with, without revealing anything personal about yourself too.

Upon losing friends this past year, I’ve met some of the most genuine friends I’ve ever had. Having people in my life who showed me the true meaning of a friend was a bit of a culture shock. it was something I had never really had. The people in my life now go out of their way to help me and show me that they care and I do the same for them. If there was ever any sort of conflict, I know our trust in each other is strong enough to work through it. The friend

ships I have now are the ones I’m terrified of losing. I owe it to the two friends who decided I wasn’t good enough to keep around. If they wanted me to write kindly about them, they should’ve behaved accordingly.

Those two friends have since realized what they lost. The friend who completely shut me out because she was moving away to college and didn’t want to deal with me anymore, reached out to me a few weeks ago trying to take me out dinner. I accomplished the impossible. I stood up to the girl who had sent me an apology text message so long I had to click on it to expand, degrading my character and doubting my ability to be courageous. I told her I did not feel comfortable sitting across from someone who had such mean things to say about me.

The friend who admitted to not caring about me has been very quiet. We haven’t spoken since the day she tried to convince me she didn’t mean it when she said she “didn’t care about me,” but I’m not open-minded to having a friendship with someone who only needed me as someone to fall back on because her boyfriend was her only other friend at the time. It was evident especially after she started dating her boyfriend, that she really didn’t care about me.

I forgive them of course, and if they really needed me I’d be there for them, but my time without them has been so much more fulfilling than it was when I was friends with them.

They’ve missed out on the last eight months of my life, and I’ve missed out on the last eight months of theirs. I still care and think about them often, but I‘m forever grateful that these women have led me to true friendship. I’m not bitter and I wish them well, and I hope my compassion, empathy and the support I showed them throughout the duration of our friendship has helped them grow as people als0.



Price of college continues to take toll on students’ wallets

Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE


It’s not news to anyone that college has become increasingly expensive over the years. According to the think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, tuition has gone up 559 percent in the last three decades and textbook prices have also risen by a staggering 812 percentage in the same period of time. What could possibly lead to such an incredible increase? Inflation? Publishing and shipping costs? Is the KC bookstore really a front for the Mafia? Ok that last one was a joke; the KC Bookstore has no bearing on the cost of our textbooks and are just as subject to the circumstances behind prices as the students. While publishing and shipping costs have also increased over time for all books, the cost for textbooks exceeds the cost for recreational books by a wide margin. The bottom line is that we may now be in the middle of an unsustainable “higher education bubble.”

In a financial bubble, assets like houses are sometimes purchased to be resold at a higher price, and this can produce rapidly escalating prices as people speculate on future pricing; eventually causing a spiral that can provoke abrupt selling of the assets and resulting in another abrupt collapse in price. Because the asset acquired through college attendance is a higher education and cannot be sold, there is no similar factor that would cause a collapse in the value of existing degrees.
However, much like the housing bubble in the last decade, the higher education bubble is a product of cheap credit coupled with popular expectations of increasing returns on investment. In the case of higher education, this means tuition prices increasing even as the supply of college graduates in many fields of study exceeds the demand for their skills. We also have to consider tuition and textbook price increases have exceeded  the cost of living increases and family income growth during the same period.
There is no federal or state standard that colleges have to abide by in terms of selecting books for specific classes. It is actually left to the discretion of each instructor to decide the books that students will need for their classes.
Many colleges, KC included, have found ways to help combat these factors with the campus allowing the students a choice in buying a textbook online as opposed to the bookstore or buying a used book at a decreased cost. Congress actually changed the law so that colleges must show the price difference of the textbooks their classes require between online and on campus stores as a way for students to have easier access to different options.

The KC Bookstore also allows for the student to return the book for a “buyback,” so long as the book is in an acceptable condition upon return.
These may be temporary fixes to the bigger issue; however, the prices for both tuition and textbooks show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

While many share and understand higher education is important, the costs of achieving that goal may soon exceed the means of the average person.

International student inspired by African heroes


Black history month is a famous month celebrated here in America, but as an African who migrated from Zimbabwe, the cultural celebration has had a great impact on me. I have come to realize that even in Africa we tend to celebrate this time, just in a different form and fashion. There are so many influential people who made Africa what it is today. Some of the most celebrated heroes who inspired me to be who I am are Nelson Mandela and Desmond Mpilo Tutu.

Nelson Mandela was a former activist and president of South Africa. He sacrificed 27 years of his life to bring an end to apartheid and he is an icon also known for his advocacy on human rights. Just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela led a peaceful protest against the white minority. He stood up for his people when the whites tried to bribe him to stop his protest against the oppression, and that landed him behind bars for nearly 30 years.

During his incarceration, Mandela continued with his hope and faith by reading books, attending university by correspondence and teaching other fellow inmates. While he was confined, Nelson Mandela earned a bachelor’s of law degree from the University of London. His incarceration did not stop his influence on the outside world. While incarcerated, he also drafted his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” which was published five years after his release.

After 27 years, he was released from prison in 1994 and became the first black president of South Africa. Mandela has inspired so many people, including me, because he stood up for what he believed. He’s precious to the oppressed Africans who he led to freedom. As a president, Mandela introduced social and economic programs that helped improve the living standards of black South Africans who had lived under apartheid for so many years. He also brought people of all races together, ending the racial tension between blacks and whites in Africa.

Even after leaving office, Mandela continued his legacy; he began many organizations which include the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Elders Program that helps ease human suffering and advocates people to help the elderly. The AIDS pandemic was ignored for years in Africa. People used to ignore the severity of the disease but after Mandela saw this, he became a vocal advocate of AIDS awareness and treatment programs. Mandela died on Dec. 5 2013 after a battle with a respiratory infection. His legacy lives on as he has inspired so many people. This led to the production of the movie “Long Walk to Freedom.” The movie was so popular it made it to the cinema. Mandela is a hero and legend whose legacy will live forever.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu is another role model of mine. He is an African icon of endurance and perseverance. Tutu was born Oct. 7, 1931 in Kleksdorp, South Africa. Tutu grew up in South Africa under segregation and oppression, but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most inspiring and educated youth of his time. Growing up, he had a passion for reading novels. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from University of South Africa in 1954. After graduating he became an English and history teacher, teaching black schools and helping unfortunate kids restore their pride. Bishop Tutu worked tirelessly to restore the African pride that had been taken away by apartheid. In 1984, Tutu was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize for his concerns with democracy, human dignity and fraternity. Him receiving the Nobel transformed the apartheid movement into an international issue and the whole world began sympathizing and helping to liberate South Africa.

In 1985 he became the first black bishop for South Africa; before this, in 1987 Tutu was named the president of all African conference churches. He used the word of God to liberate and enlighten the black majority on freedom.

After South Africa obtained its independence in 1994, newly elected president, Nelson Mandela appointed Desmond Tutu as the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Even today Tutu continues to advocate against inequality, social injustice and racial discrimination, also standing up for the fight against AIDS, an epidemic that has torn apart South Africa, a country with the highest per capita of AIDS victims in the world.

Desmond Tutu is now 85 years old and lives in South Africa where he continues his hard work on behalf of Africa.

Strive to be a positive influence for all

Photo by Timothy Stuckey/THE FLARE
Photo by Timothy Stuckey/THE FLARE

Every day our communities suffer from the lack of positive influences and true leadership. All it takes to conquer peace is to be wise and bold enough to take charge and spread the love.

I strive every day to make sure I am contributing to whatever it takes to gain true success, and I want you to know it takes hard work and some true humbling of oneself to truly achieve your dreams.

Keep in mind that to prosper, you must share the wealth. Do not allow yourself to be closed in and block out the world from the good you can bring. The goal is to strive to become positive influences to ourselves, our families and to our communities.

To quote a famous poet, Langston Hughes, “when a man starts out to build a world, he starts with himself.” Start with yourself and flourish to others.

A great start would be to set positive goals for yourself that can help you become the ideal leading example you want to be. Being successful in school shows students who come after you how to conduct themselves in a positive manner. Every day, young students learn from what they see older students doing. Whether it is good or bad, be mindful that someone is watching your education performance.

For most, procrastination is a personal flaw that should be confronted and corrected to move forward in being a positive influence. Stop letting yourself wait until the last minute to get things done, and strive to get them done much earlier than the deadline. Defeating procrastination is very important in self-discipline. It makes us fall short of fulfilling true potential, and causes mistakes, miscommunications and misunderstandings. When you procrastinate with others, it is very easy for you to lose accountability.

Plan your career goals to strive for after your completion of school. The career path choices we make speaks volumes of our desired public image, and regardless of the path you may choose, be a prime example of what a dedicated professional can contribute to the company. Being proactive, whether in school or at work gives positive influential qualities for those who do pay attention or look up to you as an inspiration.

Once we have become one with ourselves, we are now able to share our gifts and talents with others. Give generously to those who have supported you, and those included are your family, church, school, and local community. Recognize that you didn’t complete your journey without them, and share your appreciation by being proactive and giving yourself back.

When you are not busy with school or work, volunteer some of your free time by helping with special projects or committing to being proactive in community outreach.

To give generously to our supporters and community doesn’t necessarily mean buying gifts or giving money. It also means to express acts of kindness with common courtesy, compliments and in compliance of being a good Samaritan. A simple “hello” or “nice shoes”, could brighten someone’s day.

With knowing positive influences begin with you, I now close with an inspirational quote from Langston Hughes, “I look at my own body with eyes no longer blind and I see that my own hands can make the world that’s in my mind.”

Beat the Bug

Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE
Photo by Grant Worley/THE FLARE

Students and faculty members walk through a battlefield of sickness spreading like wildfire to the unarmed victims they encounter, but with the right guards of protection, one just might be safe from the contagious illnesses at war. Avoiding sickness should be an important responsibility that should be implemented by taking care of your overall health.

To be a surviving soldier in the midst of an illness war, one must start with self.

Make sure every day you wake up, your first responsibility is taking care of your personal hygiene first, and throughout your day.

Morning showers are essential to starting the day off healthy. It allows your body to wake up refreshed, and opens your sinuses and pores.

Practice your oral regiment faithfully. Mornings and bedtime are not the only times you should brush your teeth. Oral care is more than brushing your teeth twice a day, and should be implemented mornings, after meals, bedtime, and before any special occasions. Brushing should also be acquainted with dental floss and mouthwash for a thorough cleanse.

Frequently wash your hands, and try not to touch your face throughout the day.

Eat healthy foods the promote immunity and fights of some internal bacteria.

Wipe everything down with sanitizing wipes and cover with disinfection to kill the spread of contact. Wipes can be used on all door knobs and handles, steering wheel, gear shift, bathroom, bedroom, remotes, countertops, desktops, keypads and mouse at home, school, grocery store baskets, and all other direct contacts you make.

Remember that germs travel freely with EVERYTHING, so be mindful that includes the air we breathe. Disinfectant spray goes a long way in war of fighting off air-borne germs and undetected infectious surfaces. One spray a day goes a long way.

Keep some wipes in your car or bag, and a travel size of sanitizer close by for a quick squirt to kill the dirt. These essentials are beneficial in keeping your hands an acceptable clean until your next good wash.

If you are already sick, please be mindful of others you come in contact with, and take extra precautions to ensure you are not contributing to the sicknesses already floating in the air.

The listed guidelines can help anyone protect themselves from catching an illness, and should be practiced every day to ensure positive results. Take care of yourself and the people around you to defeat the wars of spreading sickness at school.

A nurse is available in the Parks Fitness Center 9 a.m.- noon, Monday-Friday. Student health services are available at no cost.  The campus nurse can be reached at (903) 983-8632. For emergency first aid, an athletic trainer is also available in the Parks Fitness Center.


Celebrating Valentine’s Day on a budget

How to Celebrate Valentines Day on a budget:

$20 and Under

Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner so consider taking your Valentine to eat earlier in the day.

Olive Garden has $6.99 lunch specials. With water to drink, tip and tax, two can eat for

under $20.

Chili’s has many appetizers and lunch specials, that with water to drink, tip and tax, the total will be under $20.

Put together a picnic for two – At Wal-Mart, the purchase a rotisserie chicken, bag

of salad, bottle of soda or tea and a bag of cookies will not send one over the $20

mark and will make a very nice lunch or dinner.  Make the picnic extra special by spreading a blanket, using plates, cutlery and glasses from the cupboard and

condiments from the refrigerator and the meal is ready to go. Indoors or out, a picnic

is a great way to show one’s feelings.

$10 and Under

At this price point, the Dollar Tree is your best friend. Noodles, spaghetti sauce with meat, parmesan cheese and two beverages can be purchased for a cost of $5. A nice card adds one more dollar to the total. That leaves plenty of cash to get a gift. The Dollar Tree’s offerings include everything from pretty hair accessories to lotions and spa items to candy and books.

Go for coffee. Even at Starbucks, two can drink coffee for under $10.


Saturday, February 11 from 6 pm-8 pm, the Longview Public Library will host a movie night with free refreshments after the movie. This year’s offering is “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Admission is free.

Write a letter telling your special someone what they mean to you.

Make a coupon book or card. There is a myriad of free printables (from vintage to modern) to download on Pinterest, and YouTube has many instructional videos.

Love wins

My definition of love would begin with what the Holy Bible says in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4-7. Once you have read the scripture and take into consideration what it means, it is all very accurate and can give quite an overview — a great definition and example of what unconditional love is. Let’s face it. That explanation of love is very hard for us humans to accept in its entirety, much less achieve it. Humans are broken — broken from our past and from our raising, even from our environment. You can live a picture perfect life with the picture perfect existence and still be flawed. Who’s to say what perfect is anymore, but you get the idea.

I think of love as a feeling, an emotion and an action. I believe it comes and goes, has its good times and not so good times. The overall essence of love will remain as long as you have a good foundation. Love comes in many forms… of self….love of neighbor…love of life….love of family and friends…. etc. The tough part would be the constant effort it takes to be in the state of love or even harder the love of enemies. Love is a choice that you make no matter the package, baggage, circumstance or situation you are in. You have to accept the person for who they are and allow for imperfection.

Love is hard because it’s vulnerability exposed. Engaging the will to trust the other person with your feelings and your heart — most of the time that is just too hard. Allowing the ability to receive love and give it is too risky. Never knowing love can be just as damaging as loving too much. Finding the happy balance will most likely be a dance that humans will never truly understand completely and totally the way it was intended until we are in Heaven basking in the one true love we all seek. In the meantime, how often do we hear about love and how many time has this subject been touched on, to infinity and bbbbeeeeeyyyond, (for the Toy Story fans out there). From Shakespeare to Tina Turner, we have all tried to figure out how to be “IN” love, how to stay “IN” love, or how to recover from love. Patience and acceptance should be in the forefront. Without it, you will fail at love. No matter what race, color, shape or form you are loved, your life matters. Take the time to know and love yourself. Remember you are human. As soon as you accept and love you the easier and happier you can love another. We are all given things that make us unique and special, even the ability to love unconditionally, it’s a choice we have to make. LOVE WINS!!!!!!


How to be single on Valentine’s Day

The “single friend,” is a title i’ve known too well my whole life. I’ve watched all my friends experience beautiful relationships with their significant others, but i’ve never been able to find someone i  have an ultimate connection with. If there’s no chemistry between two, people there is no point in wasting time. Don’t give your heart to someone undeserving just because you feel that it is your only option.

I do experience the wrath of loneliness, but I’m known as the girl who doesn’t settle. I take a lot of pride in being a girl who doesn’t have to depend on a man!

Being single is both a curse and a blessing, especially as Valentine’s day rolls around. I don’t know why February the 14th stands out the most when i know i should express love to the people in my life everyday. Valentine’s day, also known as “Singles Awareness day,” is considered one of the loneliest holidays for someone who’s single.

It is important to occupy yourself if you’re approaching this Valentine’s day (and the ones after that) single. Always remember to celebrate your non romantic relationships. Let your friends and family know how thankful you are to be so loved and maybe find some single friends to endure the holiday of love with!

Treat yourself! Go ahead and finish that whole chipotle burrito, rent your favorite movies on pay-per-view, and take a bubble bath. you deserve it! treating yourself is a vital part of spending valentine’s day solo. Don’t be afraid to indulge yourself, no one’s judging you.

Find happiness regardless of your relationship status. You don’t have to be co-dependent on a significant other, losing your independence is hardly romantic. Take the day to fall in love with yourself.

Think of all the money you’re saving spending valentine’s day alone! Being single comes with it’s perks and one of those would be not spending money on your boyfriend/girlfriend. Save your money for the half priced candy sale the day after Valentines.

Try to stay off social media. Avoid the cute couple pictures, they tend to multiply on Valentine’s day and honestly we don’t care about all of the gifts your significant other bought you. We know you love each other you post long in depth paragraphs about it every week, you can take a week off.

Google funny Valentines day cards! you deserve a good laugh and your friends deserve a valentine’s day card of Paula Deen on a stick of unsalted butter reading “you BUTTER be my valentines.”

Although flying solo on Valentine’s day, isn’t ideal for everyone, it doesn’t have to be entirely bad! Take the day to focus on your friends, family, and yourself. Being single is an opportunity to live life on your own terms and not apologize for any of it. Don’t let searching for a significant other consume you, this is your time to find yourself and be independent. Focus on the things that matter the most to you and wait to give your heart to someone deserving. i will you see you on the half priced candy aisle, February 15th.

No perfect way to search for perfection

Relationship_by_Grant WorleyPhoto by Grant Worley / THE FLARE

The ideal mate is a concept that most of us have been thinking about for the majority of our lives, rather it be our parents, grandparents, or friends we have decided what our favorite parts of someone’s personality were. Finding someone that meets the criteria is not always an easy task.

When thinking about the concept of an ideal partner the first thing we gravitate to is loyalty. Finding someone you trust is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. It’s impossible to build a long lasting relationship with someone who has betrayed your trust, or given you any sign as to why you can’t trust them. You shouldn’t be with someone you feel like you constantly have to keep on a leash.

Consider someone who’s sensitive to you and your feelings. You want someone who is going to be understanding and respectful of your emotions. being sensitive doesn’t make you look weak it shows your partner that you are considerate and empathetic and ultimately that you deeply care for them.

You want someone to make you laugh, a sense of humor is always important. No one wants to be in a dull relationship. Continue to be humorous throughout the relationship. treat everyday like it’s an adventure and go out and experience new things, Show your partner that you’re excited to have them in your life!

Ambition is always attractive. Finding a partner who knows what they want and chases after it is comforting and inspiring. A partner with ambition shows you that they have persistence, experience, discipline, determination, and creativity. Ambition naturally leads to those attributes that are essential to success.

The ideal partner is willing to be open with you! A partner who is approachable and receptive to feedback can be a huge aspect of a lasting relationship. When your partner is free-thinking and open-minded, it enables them to express their thoughts, feelings, dreams and desires, which allows you to truly know your partner.

Independence is a huge factor in a relationship. In a relationship both parties should value each other’s interests separate from their own. An independent partner is someone who is sensitive to the other’s wants, needs, and desires. The ideal independent partner will allow you to be a separate person without trying to change you.

A respectful partner is someone who doesn’t try to control you with threatening or manipulative behavior. They are respectful of your boundaries, while at the same time being close to you.

Keep in mind the perfect relationship does not exist and many of these qualities aren’t apparent when we first meet someone. Take the time to get to know your partner and each layer of their personality