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Makeup artist prepares model Deja Brown for a photoshoot.

2021 Through Our Lens

VARIANT captured behind the scenes moments through disposable cameras during the Fall 2021 semester.

Head of Styling, Kayla Edwards
Behind the scenes at the Local Architecture shoot for the Patterns issue
Evie Sears and Naila Latham at our North End social
Model Jack Wilburn applying makeup before the Patterns of Historic Movements photoshoot.
Reebha Chetty at our North End social
Jack Wilburn and Adelina Miller on set
Cheri Marshall applies makeup to model Isabella Lasneski.
Behind the scenes of our Patterns of Historic Movements photoshoot
Kayla Edwards, Emilie Burch, and Hannah Mazanec pose for a shot.
Jordan Schmitt works on a sign for the Patterns of Historic Movements reading: “Screw Sexists.”
Jonai Spates applying makeup on model Destiny Reynolds.
Behind the scenes at the FACES collaboration photoshoot
Models of our Patterns of Historic Movements photoshoot pose and yell for a shot.
Head of Public Relations, Emilie Burch
Executive Board members at the North End social
Makeup artists prepare models for the FACES collaboration shoot.
Members enjoy the North End social.
Ky Rodriguez prepares a protest sign for the Patterns of Historic Movements photoshoot.
Jack Wilburn and Adeline Miller on set
Members enjoy the North End social
Hannah Mazanec and Kayla Edwards
Jordan Schmitt and Ellie Roberto
Isabella Lasneski is photographed
Co-head of Makeup, Hannah Mazanec
Executive Board members enjoy the North End social.
Sarah Osterle and Naila Latham

Manifestation and Law of Attraction: Reaching Goals in 2022

By: Savannah Dawson, Blogger

It is the start of a new year, which means one thing – New Year’s resolutions. One thing rings true about new year’s resolutions: they  often do not last past January 31st, if they even make it that long. The end of January brings the looming fear that you will break the promises you made to yourself, or that setting back into a normal schedule will force you to give up the goals that you had prepared. One great way to fix the issue is through manifesting. 

So, what is manifestation?

The actual word manifest, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means to make evident or certain by showing or displaying.

Manifesting is bringing something tangible into your life by speaking it into existence. The Law of Attraction and manifestation go hand-in-hand. The Law of Attraction is a philosophy suggesting that positive thinking brings positive results into a person’s life.

By thinking positively, positive things will happen to you Whereas, if you are constantly thinking negatively, negative results will appear in your life. Manifesting and the Law of Attraction can play a huge role in your New Year’s resolutions for this exact reason. 

When using the Law of Attraction, there are only a few things that you need to remember to be successful at it. You have to focus on being grateful for what you have before you think about what you want. The only way that you will be able to grow into who you want to be is to appreciate and accept the person you are now, whether that is physically, mentally, financially, or materialistically.

Next, you have to visualize yourself as the person that you want to become. Making a vision board, or writing down your goals and putting them somewhere that you will always see them is one good way to remind yourself of what you want to achieve.

The third thing to remember is to always find the positives in every situation that you find yourself in, even if there is not much positive that can come from it. You also have to find a way to acknowledge your negative thoughts and when they are pushing through so that you can stop them before they manifest in your mind.

Finally, take those negatives that do come to mind, and make them into something  positive. 

Your dream life is not going to show up tomorrow using this method. You have to be patient and continue to work hard for what you want while manifesting it. It will make your hard work seem easier if you continue to visualize the outcome that you desire. When you look back, you will see the progress that you made and be able to see the effects that you attracted.

The Law of Attraction is constantly working, whether you realize it or not. So would you rather affirm positivity into your life, or negativity? That is up for you to decide. 

‘Certified Lover Boy’ vs ‘Donda’

Image by Madison Kopp

By Sarah Osterle, Blogger

The biggest debate in 2021 in the music area is who did it best; Ye or Champagne Papi?

Kanye West and Drake have had many of their new songs be featured on several TikTok trends. Some samples of the songs include “Way 2 Sexy”, “Knife Talk”, “Jail”, and even “Moon”.

Many agree that Certified Lover Boy has many more bops than Donda but I’m here to give you some reasons that they are not comparable!

  1. Certified Lover Boy is more hype.

As much as I loved Kanye West’s new album, Drake really did pull through with this one. Drake really hit the target audience with half of his new songs being on the Top 100 songs for a few weeks now. And of course like I said before the TikTok trends have been skyrocketing with the release of this album. I will say that while I’m getting ready for a night out, “Way 2 Sexy” is top five on my playlist. 

2. Donda is more of an art piece.

Donda was created in honor of Kanye’s mother, Donda West. You can see even in the first song it is his mother’s name repeated throughout the whole song in strange rhythms. This is supposed to represent his mother’s last heart beats before she passed. Also, Kanye West had many viewing parties of this album before it even came out. Each viewing party symbolized the life of his mother. The last viewing party which was in Chicago, where Kanye grew up, showcased a burning house which symbolize her death. 

With all this being said I still think that they are on two different playing fields and therefore can not be compared to each other. It is almost like comparing Starry Night by Picasso to Jonah Hill. Neither are bad at all but neither are quite comparable.

A Barber’s Journey: From Akron to Athens, to Anywhere

Photos by Ashlynn McKee, Photo Assistant

By Zoie Lambert, Blogger

Ten minutes outside of Ohio University is a weathered parking lot with several potholes and a Hometown Inn. Known for its air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and floral bedsheets dating back to 1970, the place can be described as unassuming. For an aspiring barber, however, it was a fresh start. 

Sealonda Smith, first name pronounced Shuh-lawn-duh better known by her nickname “Smitty” given to her while playing basketball as a kid. She has been a barber for six years,  graduating from Beyond Expectations Barber College. She started playing with clippers and going to the barbershop at a young age. Around 21 years old, she knew being a barber made her happy. After becoming a certified barber, she began cutting hair in her hometown of Akron, Ohio but soon realized its limitations; she was barely pulling in $100 a week. 

Smitty says that Akron is full of barbershops with loyal customers, and as a newbie, her talents were not being recognized. 

Akron’s barber scene was hard to break into but all hope was not lost. Smitty was offered an opportunity when her college peer, Geoff “Razor” West, said he was opening a barbershop on OU’s campus in Athens, Ohio. 

Smitty, knowing money would be guaranteed, drove two hours into the green hills surrounding the southeastern Ohio college with RazorWest. They arrived with clippers and a bit of Akron to freshen up the 217-year-old college. 

“There aren’t [barbershops] that keep up with fresh cuts. It’s mostly older barbers around here so they’re kind of giving out older styles to the younger kids still. So I feel like we just came down here, brought the urban, city life,” Smitty said.

Hip-hop beats can be heard by those passing by the Bam Bros Barbershop on Court Street. Smitty and RazorWest are stationed at two chairs in the front to help clients, with three folding chairs for waiting on each side. Clippers buzz against each other as they shape two different follicles. Many college students cannot help but peek into the already open doors to hear deep conversations like, “Kendrick Lamar or J.Cole: who is the best rapper?” 

As the premature fall breeze enters the shop’s open doors, Smitty reminisces about barbershop culture’s favorite pastimes: the roundtable talk, where every topic is fair game except for religion and politics.

“When Trump and [Hillary] were running, people were trying to figure out who they wanted to be President and people were big on that. It would be a heated conversation at times and you just have to be quiet before it gets out of hand,” Smitty said. 

Avoiding divisive conversations allows Smitty to get to know her customers better, some of whom she would not have come in contact with if she stayed in Akron.  “If I stayed in Akron, I  still wouldn’t be cutting straight hair. Everyone wants a good cut, it doesn’t matter what color they are. They want a nice cut, and if you can deliver that, then that’s what matters,” said Smitty. 

During these conflabs, Smitty is making magic with her clippers transitioning the lighter parts of hair into the heavier parts of hair, into a style dubbed, “the fade.” Smitty specializes in fades and crispy lines and can tell a good fade from a bad one. Choppy, uneven, unsymmetrical are some of the words she used to describe a “haircut from hell.” 

Though she believes her clippers are paintbrushes and she is Michelangelo, Smitty admits no matter how good your fade or haircut is, flaws are inevitable. 

“I take pictures [of haircuts] and I don’t post them because I see flaws,” said Smitty.

However, the critics of her work are overshadowed by her loyal customers and supporters. 

“People sit in a chair, smile amazed, ‘Well this is the best cut  I’ve ever had.’ And when they say that it just makes you feel good, even if you think that was not the best cut. It made them feel good and that’s what I like about my job,” said Smitty. 

RazorWest who opts in for boots instead of Crocs says, “She is a dope barber, a great person to be around,” and she pushes him to do better. 

Another one of her biggest supporters was her dad, boxer, Robert Davis, whose record was 32-11. Her white teeth gleam as she smiles and starts to describe him. Davis was not there to see Smitty finish college and move to Athens to pursue her career, but he did give her some advice in her early days of fades and lineups. 

“Throughout life, he encouraged me to do what I wanted to do and make sure it’s making me happy,” said Smitty.

 Before his death in 2014, Smitty was supposed to cut his hair. Though she had cut it once before, she still missed that special time with him. Smitty, keeping this in mind, now works twice as hard on her craft. 

She looks outside with her head tilted towards the sky thinking about her father and planning to continue to allow him to drive her work.

Five years from now she pictures herself outside of Ohio, but other than that she has no definite idea what her future holds. 

 “My plans change a lot, and I’m just one of those types of people I usually go with the flow. I don’t have any kids so there’s nothing that holds me back from doing anything,” said Smitty.

Sitting in a white folding chair collaged between the Athena Cinema and Bubble Teas on Court Street in uptown Athens, she spots a customer with an overgrown sideburn and says, “I’ll be with you in just a minute.”

She takes out a black barber cape and drapes it around his neck. Smitty cleans off her brushes and clippers, already envisioning what the hair will look like before she even starts. 

For more about Smitty follow her @smitty_tha barber on Instagram. 

Visit here to book a cut.

The Pattern of Demanding Expectations for Women

Image by Madison Kopp

By Olivia Szmania, Blogger

Body dysmorphia and impossible body standards are prospering. As I have grown up and become a young adult, what has unfolded before me has been terrifying.

With today’s inspiration being the Kardashians and Instagram influencers, the body expectations have surpassed reality. 

Girls strive to have a tiny waist, curves, large butt, and large chest. When analyzing popular celebrities and influencers that portray this ideal, it showcases plastic surgery and/or photo editing. Girls need to know that the way they are right now is perfect and normal! 

Culture promotes slimming teas, diets, and workouts to give this “snatched” look but for each person, looking and feeling their best is specific to them! 

What is needed is acceptance of all bodies, regardless of size, shape, and skin tone. Bloating is normal, having some stomach fat is healthy as it protects your stomach, intestines, and other delicate organs.

Standards are constantly fluctuating and what remains is the fact that each person is born with different characteristics that make them unique. Talk to yourself the way you talk to those you love. Love yourself for how you are because you deserve it.

Moon Phases and What They Mean for You

Image from NASA.gov

By Sarah Osterle, Blogger

To us, the moon is a small bright circle in the sky that is really only seen at night but it actually determines a lot about your upcoming endeavors. The moon relates to our feelings to even the tides of the oceans. Here are what the moon means for you when you glimpse at the lunar sky!

Let’s break down the logistics of the moon. There are 4 main phases; new moon, first quarter, full moon, and third quarter. These phases repeat. The interesting thing about this big rock is that we entirely depend on it! It affects our sleep cycles, eating cycles and moods. So when you are feeling moody or sleepy just look up at the sky and the moon will tell you why!

New Moon:

In this phase there is no moon to be seen! This phase represents new beginnings. This can be translated to new relationships, new jobs, new financial beginnings or even as simple as a new food you like. When looking up at the starry night to see nothing can be a wake up call to tell you that new things are coming your way!

First Quarter:

In the first quarter about the right side of the moon is seen and the left is hidden. Like how people see a glass half empty or half full, this is the time to pause and reflect on what is important to you and how to improve. This is also a time of self-appreciation! So take the time out of your day to use your favorite hair mask and have your favorite drink!

Full Moon:

This is where we see the full moon and all of its glory. The full moon represents full power and with this power your manifestations will be strong. At this time, cleanse your tarot cards, crystals and set your full intentions for your manifestations! YOU are powerful at this time!

Third Quarter:

Similar to the first quarter the left hand side is seen and the right hand side is now hidden. In this time the moon is only at its half capacity again and this means for you to release bad intentions and let go of unwelcome vibes. In the third quarter it is really important to cleanse from those poor objectives. This can include meditation or read an empowering book!

John Quiñones, 2020 Car Van Anda Award Recipient

Image from Google

By Olivia Szmania, Blogger

John Quinones, former ABC News correspondent and host of the show, “What Would You Do?” received the Carr Van Anda Award at Ohio University on October 19th.

The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, gives the The Car Van Anda award to recognize the outstanding work by journalist during their careers .

He has won seven national emmys for his work with “Primetime”. Starting from the beginning, he grew up in poverty. He dealt with judgement because of his economic status and for being Hispanic. John knew very little English but worked hard to become fluent.

He stated, “My parents always inspired me to dream big dreams.” Going into TV broadcasting, he got at least 80 rejection letters but he decided to go to graduate school, where he finally got a TV broadcasting job.

ABC News found him from his initial immigration story that investigated illegally entering the U.S. and the conditions people were facing that made them want to leave.

Once he got his start, he came up with the idea of WWYD from experience. He heard the negative stories of his community growing up and wanted to shed a light on the positive. The TV show celebrates heroes and shows there is always good in the world.

John said that his hope as a journalist has always been to “speak to the moved and shaken, for those who have no voice, the real people.” John prides himself on being factual. He believes credibility is the key to journalism.

Fake news and internet news have become a problem as people look specifically at one point of view. The division of people and disinformation seeks to confirm one’s own biases.

John says that everyone has to promote and support factual reporting, as the future of democracy depends on it.

The Impact of Online Classes on Students Mental Health

Image by Madison Kopp

By Anna Birk, Copy Editor

Now that students have moved into the 2021-2022 academic year, Ohio University has returned to a full campus; students sprinting to classes, professors grabbing coffee and every coffee shop packed to the brim. 

During the 2020-2021 academic year, Ohio University gave students the option to attend in-person, hybrid or fully online classes. This option was given based on a course-enrollment basis, with several classes maintaining an online status throughout the year. Even though the aura of campus is returning to normal, many class offerings remain online, bringing a sense of isolation to some students. 

According to a June 2021 update by Be Safe Bobcats, an online portal to track information about the coronavirus pandemic, “A small number of courses will be delivered online or in a hybrid modality due to space restrictions,” but a specific number was not given. 

It’s no stretch to say that students have suffered academically and mentally by the long list of online classes. For high school and college students alike, the inability to socialize in a classroom has taken a toll, exponentially dropping students’ mental health. 

Kelly Maguire, a third-year student at Florida Gulf Coast University, told Health Central that “grief” best describes what many students are feeling at this time. “When we hear the word grief, we tend to think of the death of a loved one … on top of that, there’s the grief of losing your sense of normalcy, routine and social connections.” 

Even though students may be back on campus, many are still isolated to their dorms or apartments, disrupting a normal college routine. 

As a college student, an average routine involves walking to class and getting to know your peers within the course. While online, however, this routine is disturbed. Many students don’t know who their classmates are, let alone feel motivated to reach out to a professor to ask. 

Skipping courses has taken on an entirely different meaning as well. Students may skip a course for various reasons: a busy schedule, illness, but most commonly, stress and anxiety. The latter often withholds students from attending a class, because of a slew of mental health concerns. Once the stress, anxiety and depression build up, attendance and keeping up with school work is often one of the hardest things to do. Now, with online school, skipping classes in-person may not be an option for some, but attention is hardly focused on the online courses. 

Active Minds conducted a study of over 3,000 young students in 2020 and found that every eight out of ten students were struggling with focus on school work. Furthermore, 20% of college students say that their mental health has worsened since the start of the pandemic. 

The world is righting itself through an upside-down time, and even though there are still struggles, students remain hopeful. In the same Active Minds study it was found that nearly 70% of college students are maintaining hope about the future. 

Resources exist on each campus to help students through their mental health concerns. At Ohio University, students can contact Counseling and Psychological Services by calling 740-593-1616. The National Suicide Prevention hotline phone number is 800-273-8255. On campus, going to a coffee shop, the library, or on-campus buildings can help students feel less isolated. Professors and other trusted people are oftentimes available to sit down to talk as well.