Be your own Valentine

By: Matt Miller
Special to Horizons

Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is about buying lavish gifts for your significant other or someone you’ve got your eye on in the hopes that you can impress them.  

But this year, I would like to challenge you to do something drastically different: be your own valentine.

Practicing self-care can be a foreign concept to some, as we spend most of our time trying to impress our professors, supervisors, significant others, and parents.  

Telling ourselves positive affirmations, making gratitude lists or treating ourselves to dinner and a movie are great ways to practice self-love.  

Ask yourself: what am I doing today to take care of myself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually?

If you are in a relationship, buying something for your significant other can be a kind gesture that lets the other know that you are thinking about them.  

However, try to attach a poem, meaningful love letter, or art project to the gift this year in an effort to break away from the mundane, run-of-the-mill Valentine’s Day gift.  

When was the last time you made a gratitude list?  If your answer is, “What’s a gratitude list?” then listen up! A gratitude list is simply that: a list of things that you are grateful for.

 Often times, we spend too much of our brain power on solving problems and thinking about the negative but rarely do we take time out of our day to focus on the positive.  

In reality, we all have great qualities and much to be grateful for!

Try making a gratitude list this Valentine’s Day, or any day, to practice self-care and positive thinking.

In my opinion, positive affirmations are the most important tool a person can learn.  

From an early age, many people develop conscious or unconscious negative beliefs about themselves, often rooted in bullying or trauma.  

These negative beliefs can fester in our minds and affect our happiness, self-esteem, relationships and decision-making.  

Do yourself a favor:  look in the mirror and tell yourself five positive affirmations each morning after brushing your teeth.

 If you make this a daily habit, I promise that you will notice a positive change in your attitude about yourself.

Finally, treat yourself! Use part of your tax return to buy something special for yourself.  

Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers and keep them in your room as a reminder to be compassionate to yourself.  

Or better yet, go out and have a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant in town (if you can afford it).  

Maybe buying a tub of your favorite ice cream and settling in with a favorite movie is what you need.  The choice is up to you.

ERAU Counseling Services are available to assist you. Making an appointment to see a counselor on campus is easy and there is no out-of-pocket costs!

Just call the Counseling Center to make an appointment 928.777.3312.


Final Approach

Editorial: Millennials are not Entitled – We’re Visionaries

By: Rachel Parrent

There is an inherently negative viewpoint held about this generation called “millennials” – when written about, it is only to say that we are entitled, that we are lazy, that we are simply not capable of contributing to society in any significant way.  

The notable purveyors of this viewpoint are those of the older generations, referred to as Generation X, and above them, the Baby Boomers.  The general consensus is the denial of millennials as useful participants in society.

The modern young-adult generation of “millennials” seems to be a big threat to the world, according to those who describe us.  

However, these same critics of our habits do not even seem to have an understanding of who millennials are – the description of  “a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century” (Webster Dictionary) is pretty loose, to say nothing about the large percentage of the population that classification generalizes.  

Yet there seems to be endless articles and reports about how this entire population are living life incorrectly, as if there were never mistakes made by generations of the past, some of whom are doing the most critiquing.  

The Boomers said similar things about Gen-X: they were lazy, entitled, and no good.  

This assessment has now shifted down one generation; based on this parallel, it seems the critical analyses of younger generations are simply based on differences when compared to the older generations who pass judgement.

Our parents, grandparents, employers, and teachers all criticize our generation on not fitting a standard mold of what is perceived as “right” in our development.  

However, we are not given any explanation as to what this mold might be, how we are supposed to fit into an antiquated system which no longer aligns with our goals of the new millennia.  

Those that write these scathing reviews of our generation simply write to voice their complaints; they do not offer any solutions on how, perhaps, we should modify our behavior, or try to explore why we act the way that we do.

They say we are expecting unrealistic things to happen in our lives, that we should not expect a job straight out of college, or want a reasonable living wage, or that we should “work hard, then play hard” rather than demand a job we enjoy.  

That should be challenged: these things can be reasonable expectations for life.  

We should not be labeled “entitled” for wanting more out of life than unemployment, financial stress, and monotony.  We are striving to make a better quality of life – starting with ourselves, and perhaps that is selfish.  

Maybe, however, we want to extend those things to others around us, and we just start where we know.  Those that criticize us should not claim entitlement; we simply know that if we do not demand something better, there will never be progress.

Final Approach

Column of Whatever: Rocket Highs, Stock Market Lows

By: John Mills
Diversions Editor

This week has been a very mixed one, emotionally speaking.

On Tuesday, SpaceX launched the first Falcon Heavy in spectacular fashion.

The only failure on that front was damage and ensuing loss of the main core after it separated from the second stage.

This shortcoming was wildly overshadowed by the successful twin landings, side-by-side, of the two booster cores, near simultaneously.

It’s a spectacular feat that I honestly never expected to see.

The launch was a truly inspiring moment of brevity and hope on a background miasma of bad news turned worse.

The success of SpaceX was quickly lost in the screaming plummet of the stock market.

The current falling state of the Dow and Nasdaq in equal numbers far too closely echoes the initial spasms of the 2007 crash for anyone’s comfort.

I can’t exactly claim deep economic insight, but when the Dow and Nasdaq have been losing successive record percentages, its easy to see that something isn’t quite right.

Experts seem to be yelling from every place they can that this is simply a “correction,” a natural return to average that occurs when stock prices get too high and investors get skittish.

I have to hope this is true, because I remember the 2007 crash all too clearly to ever want to see it happen again.

The Great Recession, as it became known, officially lasted from 2007-2012.

The United States, most of Europe, and other, generally wealthier nations around the world saw varying levels of economic downturn.

The crisis wiped out billions, if not trillions in capital worldwide and set the stage for Obama’s ascent to the White House in 2008.

Regardless of the nuances (which are far too great for a 500-word column), the Great Recession was a transformative and defining period in recent American history, one we would be fools to repeat if it were at all avoidable.

This quickly gets political in regards to the present day, something I try to avoid in this column as it doesn’t feel like the place.

But I think this is—unfortunately—the right time to get political, as it simply can’t be avoided.

The year-long increase in stock values is a direct result of an economy that has been improving consistently since about 2013, which is only a shock to people who haven’t seen the news since then.

That economic growth, and all the benefits that came with it, are products of Obama-era policies and laws, despite President Trump’s claims to the contrary.

The $1.5+ trillion tax cut enacted at the end of last year seemed like a boon to many, but it’s been followed up by a recently-agreed upon bill to massively increase spending by almost $300 billion over the next two years.

Where does that land the country? Deficit spending that would make Reagan blush.

All this worsens an already-bad situation with U.S. debt, and it’s all been spearheaded by the current administration—that still leaves behind those who need help the most.

It must be hoped that the stock market stabilizes in the coming days.

If not, the massive tax cut will have been for naught as many Americans will likely find themselves out of work once again just a decade after the last crash.

There are preventative measures that can be taken but it doesn’t seem like the administration is much interested until things really go wrong.

Until then, we have to cross our fingers for the stock market – because that’s gone so well in the past.

Final Approach

Why Our Brain Thrives on Mistakes  

Joanne Hird
Special to Horizons 

Making a mistake hurts. It can carry with it embarrassment, even shame, since starting very early in school—and perhaps even earlier than that—most of us have been socialized to associate failure with purely negative outcomes (think bad grades, not being picked for the team, getting turned down for a date, etc.). It’s possible that we can fear failure so much that we will develop a cognitive bias (i.e., confirmation bias) that causes us to filter out negative information (anything that might suggest we did something other than completely nail it) and look only for information (often in the form of praise) that confirms our perfection. 

A body of research suggests that our aversion to failure is itself a failed strategy. Curiosity about our mistakes is the royal road to learning. And mindful techniques can help. 

We can fear failure so much that we will develop a cognitive bias (i.e., confirmation bias) causing us to filter out negative information (anything that might suggest we did something other than completely nail it) and look only for information (often in the form of praise) that confirms our perfection. 

Studies beginning in 2011 suggests that this aversion to mistakes can be a cause of poor learning habits. The research suggested that those of us who have a “growth mindset”—believing that intelligence is malleable—pay more attention to mistakes and treat them as a wake-up call, a teachable moment. By contrast, adopting a “fixed mindset,” believing intelligence is static, shut down their brain in response to negative feedback, and thereby miss a key opportunity to learn. 

An MRI study at USC, compared “avoidance learning” (where mistakes are treated negatively) and “reward-based learning” (where mistakes are treated as opportunities) found that “having the opportunity to learn from failure” and consider options can turn failure into a positive experience that satisfies reward centers in the brain. 

Michigan State researchers reported that in a study of a group of children assessed for whether they had a growth mindset or a fixed mindset, children with a growth mindset “were significantly more likely to have [a]larger brain response after making a mistake,” indicating that the child is giving attention to what went wrong. [Text Wrapping Break]“They were more likely to improve their performance…after making a mistake.” remarked author Hans Schroder who encourages parents and teachers not to “shy away from addressing a child’s mistakes,” instead encouraging them to be curious about what went wrong. 

Educator Richard Curwin developed methods to “teach with mistakes,” including not marking errors on tests and papers without explaining why they are wrong, always giving students chances to re-do their work, and letting students “brag about their biggest mistakes and what they learned from them.” 

Educator Patricia Jennings, encourages teachers to use mindfulness exercises to become aware of their emotional reactions to challenging situations, and over time they can learn to respond instead of automatically reacting. In so doing, they will see more options in each situation and learn as they go. This respond-not-react phenomenon is called “left-shift” by neuroscientists, indicating that the brain shifts in the direction not of aversion to new information but rather acceptance. 

Mice in your kitchen, ants at the picnic, screaming children, losing your temper, grouchy roommates—life is full of imperfections. And yet it’s uncanny how hard we try to keep everything tidy and together.  As we start to loosen up our habits of perfectionism we discover strength and resilience within. 

Featured Features Final Approach

Out and About: Thumb Butte Hiking 

By Oliver Davis
Social Media Coordinator  

Prescott is a great place to get out and explore the outdoors. Some of the most beautiful places are just a couple minutes from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, yet students seldom find the time to go out and see nature instead of the inside of their textbooks.  

There are plenty of noticeable landmarks that one can see from campus, like Granite Mountain or the Granite Dells right across the street, but there is one more shape in the skyline that is the most unique. Thumb Butte stands tall to the south of campus, and its peculiar shape makes it even more distinct.  

The most common thing to do in the Thumb Butte area is to hike up to the top of the mini-mountain and take in its breathtaking views. There are, however, many other hikes that one can do in the same area besides the short yet steep hike to the top. 

Thumb Butte sits in the Prescott National Forest which is home to hundreds of miles of trails available for use. Many of these trails begin only several minutes away from the Thumb Butte parking lot. The variety of trails allows hikers to choose between a short in-and-out hike that can last less than an hour, or an all-day adventure that could leave you over a thousand feet above Prescott with amazing views of the surrounding Bradshaw Mountains.  

The trails are also available for mountain biking and horse riding, so there are plenty of different ways to explore the forest! 

One particular spot offers what is arguably the best view in Prescott. One can hike up to it, but it is much easier to drive up a long dirt road which goes to what is referred to as the Sierra Prieta lookout. Follow Thumb Butte road past the parking lot for approximately three miles along an extremely bumpy road until coming across views that go for miles beyond Prescott. There is nothing better than witnessing the sunset from this point where almost nothing could distract from its beauty.  

Whether it’s going for a short hike or to see miles of mountains in the distance, a day in the Thumb Butte area is unbeatable. 

Featured Features Final Approach Student Interest

Column of Whatever: New Year, New Federal Idiocy   

By John Mills
Diversions Editor 

Well, the new year has come, and brought with it more stunning mediocrity. Classes began once again only to come to a tumbling halt as we ran headfirst into a three-day weekend. As someone who caught this year’s Riddle plague—and still hasn’t totally recovered—it was a welcome break.

But the world turns on, and classes returned again for a four-day week, with students stumbling into Tuesday shaking off hangovers, probably. In two weeks, we got the first snow of the winter, so that was a plus the fifteen-degree temperatures in the morning were maybe not so welcome to those who had to get to class at 8 a.m., but they’re all already in their own personal hell, so what’s a little more torment? However, the most notable event so far was the government shutdown that started Jan. 20 which was the first time that happened since 2013. 

The government shutdown was serious business that may very well be repeated in the near future. For those who are not familiar with how these things work, Congress has to agree on a budget for the government to be able to spend money—whether we have it or not is largely irrelevant to this process. The sticking point of this shutdown was the end of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

It’s an Obama-era program (that phrase makes me feel old already) that promised to not deport children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents until their twenties. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s one of the big targets in the Republican’s immigration reform platform.

So what happened, very generally, is that the Democrats refused to sign any portion of the budget bill until the Republicans took DACA off the chopping block. The Republicans refused to do any such thing, the bill didn’t get passed, and the Federal Government ran out of money. By sheer, amusing coincidence, the first day of the shutdown was the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. As far as I can tell, this has never happened before. 

So what next? Good question. Congress basically spent the entire weekend trying to do something to get some gas back in the tank. The reached an agreement to fund the government until—wait for it—Feb. 8. But what this has done is highlight, in flaming letters 500 feet high, just how divided our Congress is.

People have immediately started pointing fingers as they always do, but the return of funding has not stopped anything. The fights over immigration and dozens of other issues will continue and probably only serve to divide congress even worse.

Those divisions are the same felt on an individual level across the country writ large. If you pay attention, they are noticeable right here on campus. Sure, no one is chucking insults, but there is a definite political divide on campus. Most of us are able to set aside political disagreements in general to get along, and I hope this remains the case. 


Featured Features Final Approach

Short Stories: From the Ashes

By: Brandon Dudley
Online Editor 

Ash, screams, and mechanical grinding filled sulfur infused air around Noldane as he dropped to his knees in defeat. Before him, down the slope of the hill, lay the husked ruins of the once grand capital of Menzysii. His kingdom and its people were now nothing more than scattered refugees driven out by a foe they could not even reason with.

Each breath came in ragged gasps as the High Justicar tried to process all that had happened. The strike had been so swift and unexpected; a devastating blow that crippled the nation’s beating heart.

Flying high above the ruins of Menzysii floated the mechanical city of Koropolis, a phenomenal wonder of engineering and magic. Between all the golden piping and sleek steel structures was a plethora of large scale inventions that the city’s owner, an inventor named Kor, had practically slapped onto the super structure randomly.

Without even realizing it Noldane had balled his gauntleted hands into tight fists, feeling the magic within the reinforced armor straining again his grip. Behind him gathered the remains of those who had managed to escape the besieged city; men, women, and children sprinkled amongst city guards whose eyes spoke the many horrors they had witnessed.

“We cannot let this go unpunished,” Noldane managed to growl out between clenched teeth, a bestial animal waiting to be unleashed. He felt a rage boiling up inside that had been previously quenched by the adrenaline of the moment.

Feeling a hand grasp his right shoulder, Noldane turned to see a man in the golden-white armor of a city guard. His helmet was held to his side revealing the face of a middle aged man older than Noldane, a scar across his right cheek. The symbol on his chest plate designated him as a sergeant.

“Sir” the sergeant started, gesturing at the crowd behind him, “we need to get the people out of here and away from the city”.

A snarl escaped from Noldane. “Sergeant,” he said, “we need to find a way onto Koropolis itself and take Kor out! If he is allowed to-”

The man cut Noldane off, rather brash for someone he outranked. “With all due respect, these people need to get to safety sir. If there is a follow up attack, we are all as good as dead!”  

Meeting the man eye to eye, Noldane met a stalwart stance that would not give way to even the most violent storm.  

The blinding fury that had consumed Noldane faded back to its normal calm and collected manner; the determined look in the sergeant’s eyes having melted away the anger.  

With a start Noldane looked toward the terrified expressions of the gathered Menzysiians and felt his heart sink. They were looking to him to lead them out of this and he had almost lead them all to a certain death. 

Taking a deep breath to calm himself Noldane spoke. “You are right sergeant. I was…” he trailed off in search of the proper words. “I was lost in my own grief. But we all have cause for grief on this day.”  

Standing, Noldane placed a hand upon the older man’s and looked him in the eyes to somewhere deeper.  

“Thank you. What is your name sergeant?”

“My name is Bran, sir,” came the reply. 

“Bran,” Noldane spoke the words with near reverence, “You have saved me from my own self-destructive path, and I cannot thank you enough for this.” He scanned the crowd, “We do need to get them out of here and as much as even I hate to admit it, we need to go to Ser.”  

With a nod, Bran called out. “You heard the High Justicar, we march north.” 

“And captain,” Noldane added before Bran could get any further. 

Bran’s expression was confusion before realization washed over his veteran face.  

“We will get these people to safety. Ser might not be our greatest ally, but if anyone weathered Kor’s storm, they will have,” Noldane admitted.  

With a nod, Bran turned back and began organizing the guards into escort positions for the coming refugee procession.  

Their people would live on. Perhaps Kor would not meet justice this day, but the countdown had begun.  

Final Approach Student Interest