Monday, 20 February 2012

Destined For Greatness

One day I was going about my usual business on campus when I met one of the University’s Vice President. In exchanging pleasantries I asked him how he was doing. After he responded, I asked him how was Northern Caribbean University (NCU). As for the University he said that NCU was destined for greatness. We both smiled, for at that time NCU was going through a rough period and he knew that I was not expecting such a diplomatic response.   

I thought about the response for a while before admitting that indeed Northern Caribbean University is a force to reckon with; destined for greatness. Ever since that day, as I pass each colleague, each worker, each student, each administrator, I became even more cognizant of the fact that if NCU is going to achieve the great heights for which it is destined each one must know and understand his or her role and must also execute that role with excellence.

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I am certain, that no institution can attain greatness without its people for it is the people within the institution that will make or break it or move it from ‘good to great’.  One way to help the University to achieve its full potential is to focus on the purpose for which it was established. Should any of you forget, let me remind you that this University was not built by man. This is a Christian organization, built on solid foundations that came into existence because inspired men of God saw the need to establish a training school for workers in the Lord’s Army.

Some of you are new and may not know the history of my Alma Mater, so I am inviting all the ‘new kids’ on the block, to conduct a study on the history of NCU. I also challenge you to enroll as a committed candidate who will help NCU to grow from ‘good to great’ as we were admonished.  

Incidentally, we are in the month of February, when we celebrate Black History and also remember the great Jamaican singer, (Robert Nesta Marley).  Wouldn’t you agree that this is an opportune time to reflect on our history, for as Marley posited in his song “If you don’t know your past, you don’t know your future”. 

 Jacqueline Champier, Behavioural Sciences Department

June Brides- What has the Month got to do With it Anyway?

An anonymous writer once said “Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.” Every person at some point in their life yearns for love. Love in some way or form: love at first sight (Eros), loving affection that develops over time (Storge), intensely jealous and possessive with the loved one (Mania), and selfless caring without self-interest (Agape). You may agree that ultimately everyone desires storge and agape love. Love is a wonderful feeling and it is even more wonderful when the man of your dream arrives and wedding bells start to ring.

So he has proposed…Now what?  Operation “Perfect Wedding” has begun.  Your big day has to be perfect; Flowers in full bloom, the perfect blend of your favourite colours; must be fresh and breathtaking, the music has to set the perfect mood giving the guests an audio feast and the cuisine should be exquisite and tantalize the tastebuds. But the one problem that lingers is WHEN should be the big day? You’ve always heard that June is the most popular month to get married, you may have even watched the movie “Bride Wars” and saw the importance that was placed on getting married in no other month but June. So, what has the month got to do with it anyway? What is so magnificent about getting married in the month of June?

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Historically, some married in the month of June to honour Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. Others did it to time conception so births wouldn't interfere with harvest work. A marriage in June could result in a conception early enough so that a wife wouldn't be too full with child to not be able to help out during the harvest. It also meant that the baby would be born soon enough so that the recovered bride would be in shape for the next harvest pending no unexpected second bundle. So, when considering your wedding plans and how romantic a June wedding may seem, keep in mind that the real concern at the centre of that tradition is getting the most out of you before you become pregnant and useless!

Brides in the 15th century chose to marry in June because it coincided with their “annual bath” -yes annual… thus ensuring a relatively sweet-smelling honeymoon. This is a funny custom. It seems that in old times taking a bath was not a daily ritual like today. Since the yearly bath took place in spring, women still didn't smell too bad so they choose June to get married so they would smell good for their new husband. This meant he smelled fairly good too. Bathing is a daily ritual today so hygiene would not be an issue if one should get married in any other month of the year, but getting married in June is the best time of the year in most cultures since the weather is usually good around that time. April is the time of rain. July it starts to get hot and of course in the winter, it is cold. An old legend even agrees that the month in which you marry may have some bearing on the fate of the marriage, “... Marry in April when you can, joy for Maiden and for Man; Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day; Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you will go; Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bread.....”

Apart from good weather, there is nothing really spectacular about being a June Bride except in the case that you want to seriously pay homage to Juno or follow the old legend that guarantees your travel “over land and sea” Any other month is just as good as June for a wedding. The reason you may want to choose a different month is that the place of your choice may be booked which will of course limit areas to get married and have a reception. This was the case in the movie “Bride Wars” because the wedding planner accidentally planned both weddings on the same day at the enchanting Plaza Hotel and neither of the ladies wanted to book another venue. Marriage Counselor Dr. Alejandro Tulloch said “the beauty of marriage is not defined by the month you get married in, but by the hardwork, dedication and love that you have put in the relationship.” So, although the most popular month to get married is June you don't have to get married then. Whichever month you chose, pick a date that holds meaning for you and your fiancĂ©e.  Any month can be magical for a wedding. After all it is your day, so it’s up to you to create the magic!

Lafaine A. Wiggan

'Where are you coming from?' Don't say @%$#, say this instead...

ONE argument leads to another and another, and it takes two to have an argument. Therefore, couples need to be careful of what they say to each other when there is a disagreement. It still holds true that a soft answer turns away wrath as words can really cause some deep wounds.
Here are some right ways and wrong ways to answer the questions that are sure to come from your other half.
Question: Where are you going now?
Wrong answer: I am my own big person.
Right answer: I'm going to ______ with _______.
Question: Where are you coming from?
Wrong answer: It's none of your business.
Right answer: I was at ________ with _____.
Question: Who is calling your phone?
Wrong answer: A friend.
Right answer: My friend _____.
Question: Who were you talking with?
Wrong answer: It's personal.
Right answer: My friend _____.
Question: Do you love me?
Wrong answer: If I did not love you, I would not have married you.
Right answer: Yes!
Question: Who gave you that thing?
Wrong answer: Why do you want to know that?
Right answer: My friend _____.
Question: How do I look in this outfit?
Wrong answer: Not bad
Right answer: You look great!
Question: How much did you pay for that?
Wrong answer: None of your business.
Right answer: I paid quite a lot for it
Question: What time did you get home?
Wrong answer: I do not recall.
Right answer: ____o'clock.
Good communication is vital to a relationship. So as you exchange words let them be like "apples of gold in pitchers of silver". Answering honestly and without bristling will eliminate suspicions and will enhance communication in the relationship. Also, ensure that you communicate your plans and your thoughts often, so your spouse will not feel bad for asking simple questions.

Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist from Mandeville.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Keep Your Eyes On the Big Picture

Recently I was working on an article, entitled “I Wanna Get High.” As I started to write, I wondered who wanted to ‘get high.’ I thought about the shocking news intoxicating the airwaves that a beloved pop star had died. I also pondered seriously regarding the errors we continue to feed to our children through negative lyrics, myths, poor decision making and the keeping of wrong company.  

I have been high before, but the only high that I can speak of is my high with Jesus. When you are wrapped up, tied up and tangled up with Jesus, He takes you on highs that are void of dangers. Even if you had never been an addict before you would want to try Jesus, for like I said, getting high with Jesus, means you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
After writing three paragraphs, I changed my focus and shifted to this new article because I was distracted by an interview that my husband was watching on the television. They were interviewing Mr. Frank Robinson. He designed and manufactured the Robinson helicopters. I got very interested in his interview for as I started to pay keen attention, Mr. Robinson posited that he was nearing forty-three and he was getting depressed, since he had not yet started to do what he thought he would be doing at that age: designing and making helicopters.  

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What made me listen even more keenly was the fact that Mr. Robinson said that one day he decided that he would just get up and do it. I wondered why he felt he could do it.  Did he really believe that he could design and manufacture helicopters? He was so passionate about his idea that he said he would give it a try. To cut a long story short, Mr. Robinson designed and manufactured the helicopters and named them after himself. He was so successful that I would not even attempt to write the amount of money that he made in a month. Even if I tried, maybe the zeros could not hold in a single line on this little paper. The point to note is that until this day, the Robinson helicopter is ranked second on the list of the most successful helicopters in the world, next to the UH1. 

The lessons that I have taken from the interview are listed below:

(1)  Age should not be a deterrent: Robinson was forty-three, so he could have easily said he was too old to be thinking of designing helicopters. He did not say that, he persevered. His age did not stop him from creating a product that contributed to the up liftment of his society.
(2)  Nothing Beats a Trial but a Failure: Mr. Robinson was not sure if he could design the helicopter but he got up from his sitting position on and said he would try. Do not be afraid to try new things, follow your passion, for this is one sure way to become self-fulfilled. My mom is always encouraging me to try new things; she often says that nothing beats a trial but a failure. It is better to try and fail than to fail only because you never tried.
(3)  Keep the big picture in mind:  I have the feeling that even after making the sketch of the Robinson helicopter, Mr. Robinson could see the helicopter, not for what it looked like at the moment but for what it was going to be in the end. Mr. Robinson was successful for he kept the end in mind.    It is not what you can do but what God can do through you.
(4)  Never Give Up: In order to be successful you have got to know the meaning of  
Perseverance. I am sure that Mr. Robinson came up on some tying moments but he did he give up. He was successful because he had passion, enthusiasm and perseverance.     
As students here at NCU, maybe you are becoming discouraged, disheartened and disillusioned. Maybe you are worried because your age is coming off the calendar and you have not yet realized your dreams. Maybe there are some things that you would like to accomplish but you are too afraid to try. If this sounds like you, I want to motivate you to go out there and give it your best try. Partner with Jesus and keep your eyes on the big picture. Most persons have regrets, not because they tried and failed but because they never tried at all.   
Jacqueline Champier
Behavioural Sciences Department  

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Enemy Within

We are our own worst enemy, only YOU can stand in your own way. We write the pages of our own destiny and even the pages of our past. The power is within us all, there are no specially selected or specially labelled group of people who were hand-picked by God that are able to govern their lives, we are all capable of governing our own lives. We allow persons in our lives with a clean slate and we won’t know if they will betray us or affect our destiny until they reveal their true identity to us. Since we have the reins on our lives, we can, in turn, become our own enemies.

It was American Rabbi Louis Binstock who said “Very often we are our own worst enemy as we foolishly build stumbling blocks on the path that leads to success and happiness”. Most often we view an enemy as someone or something that seeks to destroy us or get back at us because of something that occurred causing the relationship to suffer. We can look at the concept of an enemy as something within that stops us from striving for the greater good in ourselves. Our mental attitude could be our enemy because we hold on to a certain belief and it sets us back because we don’t want to embrace change but change can be good.

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These two ladies on the NCU campus sharing the joy of love (file)

But more often than not the enemy we struggle with daily is our own conscience; we are in a tug-o-war that seems to have no end. Our conscience tells us to do one thing, but we want to do another. Whether we want to believe it or not, our conscience always tells us to do what is right, after all it is God’s little ‘gift’ to us from the Holy Spirit. It should be the main thing that governs our decisions. Many times however, we want to do what our bodies tell us to do or what society tells us to do, while totally disregarding our conscience.

For others though, the enemy within can be their true identity that they hide from the world, they are so preoccupied with staying true to the “status quo” of who they should be while fighting with who they really are for fear that they will not be accepted. This battle may be the result of low-esteem. Psychologist Dr. Julia Becker said on her website The Candid Counselo”, “Everyone has experienced periods of self-doubt and that nagging question, ‘Am I good enough?’ People with low self-esteem are often their own worst enemy. They often feel that they are not good enough, and have many other negative thoughts about themselves.” But who determines your level of goodness or lack thereof? - You do. The power lies within. Just like the enemy within you, there is equal power within to conquer it. If your enemy is your attitude, your conscience or your self-esteem (self-worth), the ultimate goal is to take control and turn the enemy into a friend. We are own enemies and nobody likes to have enemies. So wouldn’t it therefore be nice to transform your own self into a friend?

Shaneek Service and Lafaine A. Wiggan

What Do You Do When Tragedy Strikes?

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The labour pains of tragedies often birth testimonies that are delivered by God.  In order for this to happen though the tragedy must first come your way.  It is then however that you’ll be most tempted to question God – His love, His providence, His care; you’ll ask why.  You’re tempted to think that if you were God, you’d have done things otherwise; you’d stop the thief from coming in; you’d prevent the accident from occurring; you’d save the house from fire; you’d…; you’d…; you’d….  Do better than God?  Hardly.  But it sure is a tempting thought.
Here a few interesting facts that often surround the occurrence of a tragedy:
1.                    Friends and well-wishers show up and you discover how much you are loved, and that there is still a lot of good left in people
2.                    You learn certain lessons that prepare you to avert an even greater future disaster
a.       Drive more carefully
b.      Be more security conscious – where you live, how you move about, the kinds of friends you keep, being constantly aware of your environment
c.       Make more money
d.      Store critical telephone numbers (emergency numbers, friends or acquaintances who can offer assistance, etc.)
e.      Keep your phone charged, and always have emergency credit
3.                    You prayed and though not necessarily the answer you’re looking for, God does answer

What happens after the fact?
   1. Thank God you survived – albeit that you are traumatized.
   2. Acknowledge the friends and others that show up – this helps you to know that you are not ALONE
   3. Exhaust your feelings about the situation – get counselling if necessary
   4. Take steps to implement the necessary measures related to the lessons learned
   5. While there is still good in a lot of people, there are bad people in the world, it’s not your fault that someone chose to do something bad – DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF FOR PEOPLE’S SIN – just be aware of them.
   6. All things work together for the good of those who love God – ALWAYS TRUST HIM
   7. Remember that Satan moves (tragedy), then God moves (testimony/miracle) – wait on the Lord, joy is on the way.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

This is why you're still single

SO your age isn't off the calendar, there is no tree growing in your face, you are no gold digger, you are a decent woman and you do believe in holy matrimony. But all your friends have tied the knot and you are still sleeping by yourself; still waiting to exhale; still waiting for someone to pop that all-important question.
Chances are, if this is you, something is wrong.
I know some people are of the opinion that not everyone was born to be 'tied', but to be honest with you, I really do not support that saying. I strongly believe that if you know what you want and if you learn the ropes of how to get whatever it is, you will achieve it. Once a woman knows what she is about, nothing can stall her progress and no one can stand in her way: her success will be certain.
Therefore, if you have determined that this is your year, or if you are tired of being lonely or of sleeping all alone, peruse the list below and make the necessary adjustments.
1. Stop acting too desperate: One big turn off for a man is a woman who is so desperate that everything about her screams desperation. You cannot tell every man you meet that you are looking for a husband. This might sound way out to you, especially if you don't practice this type of thing, but there are some women who are still using this approach. Try to use some reverse psychology, that is, as much as you want someone, behave as though you are not looking for a man. Remember ladies, a man likes a challenge.
2. Project humility. If you behave as though you have arrived or like you are in a class all by yourself, it will be harder to attract Mr Right and you may really end up all by yourself. If you are serious about ending your lonely days, start by exuding humility. Note that you cannot exude what you do not have, so if you're really not humble, you just have to learn how to humble yourself.
3. Have the right self-concept. Sometimes a woman will have the wrong concept of herself and she might wonder why she has not yet attracted a worthy bachelor, only to find out that others see her totally opposite to how she sees herself. In order to get a true picture of how you are perceived, ask your good friends to tell you exactly how you come across to them. You might be surprised by what they say, but if they tell you anything negative, adjust these with positive actions. It could be that you are really a lovely person and a confident woman too but because of something that you are not doing, your loveliness does not shine through. Work on it.
4. Stop falling for losers. Some women are single and it is only because of one reason: they continue to fall for losers. Regardless of your loneliness, you must spend the time to study a potential mate before you open yourself to him. Sometimes out of desperation women will 'catch at a straw', but if you are guilty of doing this, stop it. You cannot afford to be dating one loser after another. Stop hurting yourself, set your standards by making note of the type of man that you would like. You do not have to be too picky but you should not rush into the relationship either. Learn how to go slow, remember that time is the master of everything. If he is a loser it will be bound to show sooner than later. One other thing; never let it be that by the time you realise that he is good for nothing you have gone too far. When this happens, you can become vulnerable and this can begin a cycle of attracting losers on the rebound. Lastly, do not forget your innermost feelings; your sense of intuition, it's a tool that God has given to every woman. Use it.
5. Wait your turn. Have you ever considered that maybe it is not your time yet? Think about it. They say good things come to those who wait and I can agree with the saying. Listen, it is better to wait than to be sorry, for there is no crime in waiting.
Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist from Mandeville

Not tonight honey, I'm tired

IF you are honest with yourselves, you ladies would agree with me that it must be frustrating for a man to hear the words, "Not tonight honey, I'm tired".
Just think about it, imagine how he feels when he reaches over to touch and even before he can think of stretching out his hands fully, all he hears is the same old tired excuse.
These words can shatter a man's ego indefinitely, especially if it is becoming the norm rather than the exception with women.
But men, why not look at this from the woman's perspective? Could it be that when she says she is tired, she is really suffering from severe exhaustion and just cannot muster the strength to accommodate you? Maybe the best thing that you can do for your tired queen is to shower her with love and affection. This will show her that you care. With this in mind, the next time you hear her say 'I'm tired', instead of huffing and puffing, here are some suggestions you may try:
*Tell her that you're sorry that she is not feeling like a million dollars and ask her if there is anything that you can do to make her feel better.
* Give her a light and tender massage to help her fall asleep more easily.
* Hug her tightly and reassure her of your love; that might even help her not to feel so tired after all, and then again, you can never tell what might happen after that. She might just suddenly recuperate.
* Ask her how you might help her not to be so tired in the future and commit to working with her to put a plan of action in place to rectify the situation.
* Desist from insisting on having it your way. Be very supportive and understanding instead.
* Tell her that anytime she feels tired, she has your shoulders to lean on and if she only wants to talk, you have two ears waiting to hear her story. This is not that difficult; it can happen if you try.
Note that the above is in no way intended to encourage women into laxity but fair is fair and we have to call a spade a spade. A tired woman is a tired woman.
But ladies, if you are guilty of pulling the tired card falsely, stop it. Consider that your action hurts and may also cause physical pain. Also, if you are one of the many tired women out there, the following suggestions should help.
* If you work outside the home even in a regular nine to five job, you should expect to work hard during the day but you must plan to leave your work when work ends. This might be easier said than done but still it is worth a try.
* Do not be selfish, try not to over-extend yourself but save some of your energy for your family.
* Think about how he is affected. If you are always tired your partner will feel lonely and rejected.
* Plan your time well; include in your activities time for work, time for love, time for play and time to pray.
* Take care of yourself — eat well and balance work, rest and exercise.
* Use a daily calendar to help you so you do not pack a week's activities in one day.
* Bear in mind that you are only one person and you can do so much and no more.
* Check with a medical doctor to see if something is wrong physically.
* Be very sensitive and try not to be too quick to say you are tired; habits are easily formed.
* Don't use tiredness as an excuse but communicate exactly what is on your mind.
In a love relationship both partners should be aiming to please, both should be thinking about the happiness of the other. Therefore, neither man nor woman should be fixated on the words, "not tonight honey; I'm tired".
Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist from Mandeville.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I can’t wait to get married- or can I?

D. H. Lawrence once said “When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.” Oneness is something that is quite attainable, but many people do not know how to attain it. Women especially value independence, but whether they want to admit it or not, they too yearn for oneness. This is why a woman will spend years dating, just to find that person she can be ‘one’ with, one to whom she can pour out her soul without reservation. As hard as it may be to admit, I am guilty of searching for oneness and I believe this oneness will only be achieved when I find that special person and vow through marriage to spend the rest of my life with him.

Marriage is a sacred institution; it was designed by God for two individuals who love each other to share every aspect of their lives. Marriage reminds me of two bubbles that are floating around and then coincidentally, or by fate, they join and make one big beautiful bubble. Marriage involves being loyal, honest, understanding, and loving to your companion despite his/her faults or flaws. Many persons spend a lot of money on having the perfect wedding but they put little effort in ensuring that the marriage works. Some even get married for the wrong reasons: to have sex, for business opportunities or to become a legal citizen of another country. When you love someone however, and want to spend the rest of your days on earth with him/her, I believe the ideal wedding will fall into place.

I love weddings.  Ever since I was a little girl I enjoyed attending weddings with my mother. I would sit and observe all the important details: the color combination, the decorations, the style of the bridesmaids’ dresses, the bride’s hairstyle, her make-up, her dress even how happy she looked at the thought of getting married. My favorite part however was when the Pastor said “you may kiss the bride”…I always squealed with delight and imagined myself kissing the man of my dreams. As I got older, I attended even more weddings and decided that it was time to start compiling my portfolio of how my wedding and marriage should be.  I joined a wedding website “The Knot” and received weekly or monthly updates on planning the perfect wedding. Joining the site required your name and the name of your fiancĂ©. 

At the time I was not dating anyone so I typed the first name that came to mind – Rafael – who knows, maybe fate will lead me to a ‘Rafael’ somewhere in the world. So now I have everything in place for my dream wedding; I know that I don’t want to get married inside a church, I want to get married near the beach or somewhere scenic. I see myself as a free spirit, so I want to feel the wind blowing in my hair as I’m getting married.  I know the dress I want to get married in and I know the specific places find the perfect dress, I know the style of the shoes I want to wear and definitely know what my wedding colours are going to be… fuchsia and gold.

It’s ironic though, that I should be so ecstatic about getting married since my parents are separated and I’ve seen many failed marriages in my community. That is no deterrent to me however, as the thought of sharing my life with someone excites me. It is also intriguing to think of cuddling in the bed at night with that special someone without feeling guilty about it. If I had the choice I would get married right now, if the man of my dreams arrived and proposed I would scream “yes”. After all, I have everything planned; all he has to do is walk up that aisle. 

Marriage Counselor Penelope Trunk says “your wedding is one day in your life, but your marriage is all the rest of the days that come after it. No other relationship, except perhaps parenthood, even comes close in terms of the challenges and triumphs of marriage. It is the most intimate relationship created by choice that is humanly possible.” So, if you are like me and yearn for the experiences of being married, ensure that you want to get married for the right reasons. I want to share my body, soul, thoughts and experiences with the one I love and trust the feeling will be reciprocated.  So if Prince Charming comes along now, I hope he is ready to take me away on his white horse. I really can’t wait to get married- can I?

Lafaine A. Wiggan, a final year Communication Studies student at Northern Caribbean University and guest contributor.

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Progression of Technology

It was John Tudor who said “technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology.” I presume when Tudor penned these words he had no idea that it would be one of the most factual statements ever made.  It seems today that man is being driven by technology rather than technology being driven by man.

This has so happened because we are not being able to keep up with the fast moving developments in technology. Technology is the most limitless thing in the world, it has no boundaries, and one could say it personifies the word ‘evolution.’ The Encyclopedia Britannica defines technology as “the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of life.” In essence technology makes it easier for us to enjoy to an extent, a stress free life through the use of science. We hear or read about new inventions every week, month or year and whenever we are introduced to a new technology we are mesmerized and think to ourselves “I want one of those,” but by the next year or two we read about something even more unbelievable and enticing and we are blown away once more.

But where did it all begin? Who or what paved the way for the numerous gadgets that we enjoy in the 21st century?
The history of technology is very complex and lengthy, it dates back to 3000 BC, popular belief has it that the first calendar was made during this time. Fast forward to 1642 when Blaise Pascal developed a machine with gears and cranks that was able to calculate the addition of numbers, perhaps this was the father of the first calculator. On March 10, 1876 Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone. He blazed the trail as it were for Thomas Edison who, in the following years invented the first phonograph, light bulb, electric motor and the first motion picture camera. In the 1900’s Thomas Edison invented the first battery. One could say that Edison was the father of inventions. On June 17, 1946, one of the most popular devices that appear at times to be apart of the human anatomy was invented... yes, you guessed it... the first commercial mobile phone was introduced. Different individuals worked on inventions as the years passed and the first complete computer was made in 1977.  The advent of the World Wide Web (www) however was not until 1993. Many years ago we would be in awe at a storage capacity of 256 MB RAM (Read Only Memory) but today even 16 GB RAM still seems inadequate for individuals needing memory to store all sorts of information. Technology is found everywhere; it has become the network of information that holds the knowledge of humankind. We can agree that technology indeed hold the knowledge of humankind because of the different types of technology that exists.
There are six recognized areas of technology: the technology of teaching, instructional technology, assistive technology, medical technology, technology productivity tools, and information technology. The technology of teaching refers to instructional approaches that are very systematically designed and applied in very precise ways. Instructional technology is a systematic way of designing, carrying out, and evaluating the total process of learning and teaching in terms of specific objectives, based on research in human learning and communication. Assistive technology employs the use of various types of services and devices designed to help people with disabilities function within the environment. Medical technology is a part of the health technology which encompasses a wide range of health care products and, in one form or another, is used to diagnose, monitor or treat every disease or condition that affects humans.

Technology productivity tools as the name implies, are computer software, hardware, and related systems that enable us to work more effectively and efficiently. Information technologies provide access to knowledge and resources on a wide range of topics. The internet, and its World Wide Web component, is the most prominent example of information technology. Information technology is possibly the most popular and widely used form of technology... why? Because as humans, we thrive on communication, we have to keep in contact and all times with our family friends and acquaintances and prospective business partners. Information technology is so important to us in the 21st century because it incorporates storing information, protecting information, processing the information, transmitting the information as necessary, and later retrieving information as necessary.

But what enables us in effectively carrying out the previously mentioned activities? Telecommunication... it has been an important part of western culture since the invention of the telegraph in the 1800s. It was initially used as a form of long distance communication. Over the last two decades however, telecommunications has taken on a whole new purpose and plays a much bigger role in our everyday lives.  

Telecommunication is a part of information technology that is used daily by every individual, whether it is the radio, television, telephone or the internet. The internet could be considered the total package since it affords us the privilege to fulfill all of our communication needs. We can visit sites and listen to the radio, watch our favorite television shows and movies, and chat with people in a live video chat and stay connected with relatives via email, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. With the Internet, people in the world are more connected than ever. Wherever we are in the world and whatever we are doing, there are numerous devices that enable us to connect to the Internet, which helps humans to substantiate the fact that technology knows no boundaries. Founder and CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates said it best, “I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They are tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.”

Think of a watch… commonly known as device worn on the wrist to tell the time, right? Imagine it doing a whole lot more than that, like going on the internet, making and receiving calls, taking pictures, watching a movie, having Bluetooth capabilities and a colour touch screen… probably impossible right? Wrong.

The Smart Watch and Phone (SWAP) offer those features among others. Just when we thought we’ve seen it all here comes a stylish lightweight watch that caters to all our telecommunication needs. This device would especially be useful for those individuals who are only on the go, who sometimes can’t even find the time to answer their phone, but with the SWAP, one touch and communication begins… talk about hands free operation. Sounds unbelievable? Believe it. Technology holds the power to make our lives better, it is ever-changing and ever developing and we should never limit it because even when we think an invention is so mind-blowing, in two years something better comes along. I just hope we can keep up with this evolution, but whenever we get tired of the old gadgets and feel the need to upgrade there is always a “SWAP.”

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Getting rid of the “Pinocchio” within us

Influence is something that is often taken lightly.  As individuals we sometimes fail to understand how influential people can be to us or vice versa. An Italian proverb says “The person who lives with cripples will soon learn to limp.” Sometimes we don’t realize that we are being influenced (positively or negatively) until someone highlights it or we find ourselves in a situation where we are led to the source of the influence. Influence is defined as “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on, or produce effects on the actions, behaviour, opinions, etc., of others.” Social influence especially, affects an individual since it tends to change their thoughts, feelings and actions drastically.
When I think about influence, the animated children’s story “Pinocchio” comes to mind, from the moment he left his “father” Geppetto’s house to go to school, he allowed himself to be influenced by individuals around him that he barely knew. Soon he had no “mind” of his own, he made promises to be good and do what is right, but as soon as ‘bad’ came along he went with it too... but can you really blame him, after all he was made out of wood. We are not much different from Pinocchio, thankfully though our brains are not made from wood, but we are affected in more ways than one by the social influences around us. Social Psychologist Herbert C Kelman said, “we can describe an influence situation—in its most general form—as one in which an influencing agent offers some new behaviour to a person and communicates to him in some fashion, that adoption of this behaviour will have certain implications for the achievement of his goals.”
Social influences then make forms: conformity, peer pressure, obedience, persuasion and compliance. The three most popular forms however are conformity, compliance and obedience. Conformity is changing how we behave to be more like others. This stems from belonging and esteem needs as we seek the approval and friendship of others. Conformity can run very deep, as we will even change our beliefs and values to be like those of our peers and admired superiors. This was obvious in Pinocchio’s situation, when his schoolmate encouraged him to be a truant, “but someone else was about to cross his path and lead him astray. This time, it was Carlo, the lazy bones of the class… Why don't you come to Toyland with me? Nobody ever studies there and you can play all day long! Forgetting all his promises to his father and the fairy, Pinocchio was again heading for trouble.”
Often times we too conform to the whims and fancies of our “friends” without giving a second thought to the consequences of our actions. The Bible even substantiates the fact that conforming is not necessarily a good practice, Romans 12:2 states “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Compliance is another form of social influence, its effects may not be visible immediately as conforming, but they are long lasting since it would appear as if we are battling with our consciences. Compliance defines when a person does something that they are asked to do by another. They may choose to comply or not to comply, although the thoughts of social reward and punishment may lead them to compliance when they really do not want to comply. Pinocchio complied when the fairy told him to return the gold coins to his father, but deep in his heart he was not convinced which is why it was so easy for him to be influenced again by the fox and the cat. Fighting against our true desires can reap the same consequences as conforming; we should be truthful to ourselves, since we are the ones who will face total ruin in the end.
Obedience is different from compliance in that it is following an order from someone that you accept as an authority figure. In compliance, you have some choice. In obedience, you believe that you do not have a choice. Obedience is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this context it can be, because obeying someone out of fear or belief that you have no other choice, is the same as acting like a puppet or a robot. Obedience can be good as well as bad, which is why God blessed us with a spirit of discernment, knowledge and understanding to choose positive influences.
In the end Pinocchio made a wise decision when he chose to work for a man who gave him milk for his father, he also learnt the value of independence and self-reliance. We too can rise above the negative influences around, we are not obligated to conform, comply or obey unless we see where the results will be beneficial to our personal or character development. There are many positive influences in society; our job is to seek them so we can erase the “Pinocchio within us.
Northern Caribbean University operates in harmony with the beliefs, practices and educational philosophy of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As such, it encourages students to relate their academic pursuits to their understanding of the Christian faith. It emphasizes the development of a sound Christian character and seeks to maintain an atmosphere, which fosters in its students, commitment and growth in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Thus, faith and learning combine to prepare students for practical Christian usefulness.
NCU students are therefore required to consistently avoid all forms of personal conduct that are scholastically deleterious, spiritually or morally destructive, and to respect the facilities of the University and the rights and property of others. They are also required to abstain from the use of drugs, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and refrain from improper conduct between the sexes.

Friday, 10 February 2012

‘Sailing Solo’

It has created quite a sensation on the net, so if you are a regular surfer, by now you would be familiar with the story.  Just two months ago one sixteen year old Californian girl, Abbey Sunderland quit her solo voyage around the world. Abbey became stranded in the Indian Ocean, and had to be rescued by some French fishermen. I knew of it because it made international news. Anyway, this news did not deter Laura Dekker a Dutch youngster from departing the port of very soon after to begin her one year solo sail: around the world. 
The comments from people all over the world varied, but it seemed to me, that most people were against the idea of teens sailing solo. Some said that the parents of these teenage are very irresponsible. They believe that the parents should be jailed.  Anyway, amidst the wave of furor, I detect something akin the formula of success, let me share three of these with you. 
(1)  In order to achieve success you will have to be intentional. Many persons will tell you that you cannot make it; they will encourage you to give up, especially if the course is too difficult. You should never let the opinion of others determine your actions. Aim high, set your goals, work hard and trust in God to see you through.
(2)  The race is not for the swift. Do not compare yourself with others, your journey is unique, keep your eyes on the prize and keep on sailing. Never give up, persevere, and remember that with Christ in the vessel, you can smile at the storm. The young sailors testified that they had to fight off pirates, sail through deep waters and even rough seas but eventually, they made it safely to shore. From time to time you may feel like your ship is rocking or like you are lagging behind but continue to sail on, for one of these days you are going to make it. Even if you have to break your course of study, recharge your batteries and get back in the ’waters’, for this is something that successful sailors do. Sometimes they run out of gas or come upon some form of emergency but they do what they have to do and get back on course.
(3)   Solo means alone, just as how these sailors achieve success without mother or father, sister or brother you will find that in your course of study you will have to do likewise. You will have lonely days at University but cheer up for it does not mean that your loved ones will abandon you. They want the best for you; they are cheering you on from shore.

Let me conclude by saying, your ship may ‘be battered and your sails may be torn’ but stay the course, for University life ‘ain’t no smooth sailing.’

  Jacqueline Champier                                                                                         
Behavioural Sciences Department

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

“Picky Picky Head”- Dead

Beauty - how do you define it? When you look in the mirror do you see beauty?  Is it in the clothes that you wear or is it in long beautiful hair? Beauty is something that everyone yearns for, because it is a quality in a person or thing that brings pleasure and deep satisfaction. Women especially, will search for months or even years trying to attain beauty. There are even love quotes encouraging women to find a man who calls her “beautiful” instead of “hot,” that way she will know she has found the true one. But how do women really perceive beauty? Do they see it as true inner beauty which includes psychological factors such as personality, intelligence, grace, politeness, charisma, integrity, and elegance?
Arguably, not in parts of the Caribbean, North America, and Europe; women measure beauty by physical attractiveness especially in relation to having “good” hair.  Women will go to any extent to get “beautiful hair” whether it is an extraordinary attention-getter wig, long colourful extensions or synthetic braids.

I am a naturalist... to an extent that is. My hair isn’t processed and I don’t intend to process it in the near future. I’ve straightened it before but that’s as far as I’ll go. I’ve consoled myself that I will be forever a part of the female minority in the Caribbean and more specifically Jamaica, who do not have processed hair.  I have no problem with women who process their hair, but when they allow it to affect their self-worth, it is embarrassing to say the least. It seems Afro-Caribbean women have lost their identity and if extensions or weave is not being worn then “you nah happen.” 
Despite how much society has changed, beauty will forever remain tied to a woman’s hair; at least in the eyes of some, because there is a certain level of vanity that exists in the strands of one’s hair. It has become clear that women today are stuck in mental slavery because they think that keeping their hair in its natural state is synonymous with it being “picky picky” meaning that it is “unruly or messy unkempt hair”. Black women try with all their might to get rid of what they think is “picky picky” hair, but is that really possible?

I was amused when I read an advertisement on a hair extension site that said “Brazilian Hair for a Black Goddess – Feel like a Goddess with the best hair extensions!”  Isn’t it noticeable that this site is telling women indirectly that they are not beautiful the way they are, with their natural hair? The site further stated “obtaining this hair takes time, which accounts for its premium price, but it is of premium quality and is in demand from Afro-Caribbean goddesses who refuse to settle for second best.” In essence they are telling black women, that they will not feel like goddesses until they have Brazilian hair extension. I walk with confidence with my natural hair and I am proud of its texture which is not “picky picky” but well-kept as a woman’s hair should be. 
How ironic is it that Black History Month is conveniently used to highlight the fact that black people should embrace being black and proud, but when it comes to matters of the hair, only Brazilian, or Indian or Caucasian hair is good enough for women?” Naturalist Tamara Obeng said in an interview “I think there is immense pressure because many ladies today MUST have a weave to feel beautiful or accepted, some may deny it but it’s true. With a weave many ladies feel sexier, prettier or more likely to catch someone’s eye. Many of the role models today have European looking hair, that’s why ladies today will pay from £10-100 for hair that’s Indian, exican…something that’s not genetically theirs.”

Think about it though, even if women accept that their hair is “picky picky” can they really kill it? Unless they shave their heads, then it will make it harder for the wigs to be sewn in properly or the braid to be attached to their hair. Black women are so absorbed in foreign culture that they sometimes lose their identity, but just like a mask when it is removed, an individual’s true identity will be revealed at some point or another. Wigs cannot be worn 24 hours a day, unless there is a scalp disease involved or some other sickness that requires the wearing of a wig. It has to be removed at some point and the “picky picky head” will be resurrected. Regardless of what the Wailing Souls sang some years ago... “Picky picky head go buy new head,” it is next to impossible to buy a new head. Many wigs can be bought but the “picky picky head will remain forever, even if it is hidden, it will never die. 
As Tamara Obeng puts it “I love natural hair because it’s fun. It’s me in my original state, it’s beautiful, and my curl pattern is unique to me. I have nothing at all against ladies with relaxed hair, but I know I could never go back. When I cut my hair I felt a sense of freedom! Having natural hair is my way of showing that God made me wonderfully, in His image and likeness with no mistakes. It’s a way of me appreciating Him for the way I was made, accepting the way I was made and not trying to chemically alter the way I was originally created.” So is “Picky picky head”-dead? It all depends on how people define “picky picky” and how they view their hair.

Lafaine A. Wiggan, a final year Communication Studies student at Northern Caribbean University and guest contributor.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Do You Like What you See When you Look in the Mirror?

We are all wonderfully and fearfully made. God created us in his image. Genesis 1:27 "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." The words "image" and "likeness" are used in Genesis 1:26-27 as adjectives to express the idea of the whole man being created in this way.

Seeing is believing. All our perceptions and actions are influenced by “that image” which we hold to be true of ourselves. Once the process of conceptualization begins, it involves the developmental stages of life which has its many contributing factors that will mould its outcome. This self image that we have of ourselves determines what we think we can or cannot achieve as well as our judgments and beliefs that correspond to our capabilities. Past experiences, successes, failures, feedback from peers, comments from strangers, our environments and childhood experiences all contribute in some way or the other.

We are habitual creatures that constantly reaffirm “that image” which we have crafted of ourselves. We constantly strive to ensure that our future will be consistent with the “self image” that we hold to be true, with those actions and decisions.
People often focus on their imperfections: that scar, big ears, broad nose just name a few. These slight modifications soon become skyscrapers. They often overshadow the good points; hence self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-love soon become self-loathing. 

There are several factors that contribute to how individuals view themselves. Some of these include: the media, family and friends, trauma, and accidents. The media is the fundamental factor towards self-image. Celebrities are often viewed with perfect-clear skin, narrow waist, curvaous stature. Family and friends often highlight the imperfections of their siblings. This can further impact the views held by the sibling. Self-pity will begin to fester. The loss of health or well-being through accidents or long term illnesses can negatively impact the individual’s perception of their self.

It is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. This is not just related to how others might see you, it also relates to how you choose to see yourself. Real beauty comes from within. This concept primarily deals with how comfortable you are in your own skin. It therefore is very important that you like what you see and that you are able to distinguish what it is that you do not like from what you do