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April 11, 2014 - Image 4

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4 - Friday, April 1, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4- Friday, April 11, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Celebrating mental wellness
The University should help CAPS expand its event offerings
Monday, the Michigan Theater hosted the concert, "We Can
All Change the Story: A Celebration of Hope." The suicide-
prevention awareness showcase was the product of significant
planning and collaboration between the Counseling and Psychological
Services Student Advisory board and the Central Student Government.
The event provided wristbands and free pizza while promoting an end
for student suicide on campus and informing students of the services
available to them. It also featured several prominent speakers who talked
about their own experiences with mental illnesses. CAPS has helped
make a positive change in the community and encouraged discussion of a
difficult topic with this event. The University should continue to promote
and strengthen CAPS events in order to maximize their ability to affect

Sorry to burst your bubble

The other day, I was called
"pretentious" by one of my
students. He's a great kid,
and usually
pretty polite, so
I wasn't offended
by the comment
so much as
taken aback.
(The comment
came absolutely
out of nowhere.
It seemed as KATIE
natural to him asSTEEN
commenting on
the weather.)
"Pretentious?" I said, feeling
suddenly flustered. "No I'm not!
What! Pretentious?"
"It's not necessarily a bad thing,"
he said. "Come on," he nodded his
head as if we were both in on a little
secret. "This is Ann Arbor. We're all a
little pretentious here."
I still don't think he knows
the meaning of pretentious (for
instance, he asked me if I listen to
Neutral Milk Hotel in attempt to
prove his point). But his comment
stuck with me - "This is Ann
Arbor." what did he mean by that?
I've felt simultaneously
frustrated and in love with Ann
Arbor for some time now, not
because there's anything blatantly
wrong with it - quite the contrary,
because it's just so good. Too
good. Too cute. Too green. Too
locally-made. Too grassroots. Too
academic. Too "politically correct."
Too leaders and the best. Too
proud. Too active, too passionate,
too happy. We really do have it all
in this little college bubble. Except,
it's not ... real.
Ann Arbor isn't flawless - hell, I
complain about Ann Arbor biweekly

in this column. Just like pretty much
everywhere else in the world, Ann
Arbor has problems with sexism and
rape culture and all the other shit I
write about pretty much nonstop.
But at the same time, Ann Arbor is
somewhat of a liberal haven - a place
many young twenty-somethings
wish they (we) could hold onto
forever. And maybe we can. There
are lots of bubbles in the U.S. and
in the world. I myself have lived my
whole life in a series of bubbles -
sometimes one inside another.
I grew up in Grosse Pointe, a more
conservative-minded bubble I never
quit fit in, but a safe, beautiful little
bubble with a lake nonetheless. (It's
a bubble with strong, fear-based
walls, I might add - both figurative
and literal walls, like the one built
out of snow this winter on Kercheval
Avenue, cutting off GP from Detroit.
Then I moved to South Quad in
Ann Arbor - a nine-story bubble
where I was surrounded by a bunch
of socially awkward nerds like
myself and fattened on a cushy meal
plan. Scattered around the halls
were advertisements for all sorts of
cultural events, posters advocating
for depression awareness and
notifications of "bias incidents" that
occurred in the dorm. Overseeing
everything was our benevolent R.A.,
a sweet girl with an affinity for
After South Quad came the
co-ops, where we have regular
meetings in which we're encouraged
to feel "empowered" to speak our
opinion, where we can have SAPAC
and IGR come to our living room
and lead discussions and workshops.
"Safe space" is something of a
buzzword here.
And currently, I'm student

teaching at a high school that my field
instructor likes to call "magic high
school." It's a small community of
kids - many of them professors' kids,
I've begun to realize, and many of
whom are intimidatingly passionate
- about learning, about social justice,
about expressing their identities,
their creativity, about finding what
it is they care about in the world and
jumping in head first.
We all have our bubbles. But most
of us, at some point will leave the
safety and comfort of our bubbles
- for many of us, our exit is coming
sooner than later (May 3, actually).
And that, I think, is for the better.
The unfortunate truth is, the
world isn't safe, and it's not a bubble
- it's a hungry beast that you can
battle or avoid behind closed doors.
We can create little bubbles of our
ideal realities, but they are not
the norm.
Many of the people reading
this article will be graduating and
moving out of good ol' A-squared
at some point, and you're probably
going to feel at least a little lonely
and unprepared and scared. "Real
Life" will finally arrive, and it will
probably seem kind of shitty at
first compared to your last four
years. But I'm asking you to take
everything you've learned in your
college years and beyond, and apply
it to Real Life - to make Real Life
a better world for everyone. Don't
feel afraid when you leave your safe
space; feel empowered. We all have
our beasts to battle, our-isms and
our anxieties. Don't shut them out
- go after them.
P.S. I'm not pretentious!
- Katie Steen can be reached
at katheliz@umich.edu.

change and reach out to students.
CAPS shouldbecommendedforhostingthis
event, as should CSG for its support. Together
they created a showcase that addressed and
raised awareness for a challenging subject that
is a serious issue both on campus and around
the world. The University has the potential to
be a stressful environment for many students,
which worsens the problem of mental health
issues. Stress and anxiety can cause and
perpetuate mental health issues and lead to
suicide. A study conducted by the American
Public Health Association, which was based
on data from 157 colleges, found that suicide
accounts for 6.18 deaths in 100,000 college
students, which is higher than the amount
alcohol-related deaths - 4.86 deaths per
100,000 college students. A study from the
American Psychological Association found
that 15 percent of graduate and 18 percent
of undergraduate students have seriously
contemplated suicide in their lifetimes.
It's clear that suicide is a major problem
around collegecampuses, but the stigma around
the topic, as well as many other mental health
topics,makes seekinghelp and creatingdialogue
a problem. Events such as "A Celebration of
Hope" help to break the stigma and promote
discussion, and are thus critical to the goal
of having students seek help. Students can
receive help at CAPS, as it provides confidential
psychological and psychiatric services for
enrolled graduate and undergraduate students
at the University. Some of their services include
individual counseling, group opportunities,
urgent/crisis services, psychiatric evaluations
and medication management, and screenings
and support for ADHD, eating patterns and

substance abuse. In addition, CAPS is involved
in outreach and education and works to battle
mental health issues in many different ways.
This event in particular was focused on suicide
prevention, but their efforts promote mental
health wellness in general. The importance of
such an organization on this campus can't be
emphasized enough.
The showcase was developed and executed
in an effective way that helped to address the
social stigma that surrounds mental disorders
and make students less intimidated to seek help
from CAPS. Their use of high profile speakers
such as former Michigan football player Will
Heininger, Miss Michigan Haley Williams and
radio host John Bommarito was an important
way to break the barriers of the stigma around
suicide and mental disorders because they
talked about how mental health issues have
affected their lives. Having prominent and
successful people discuss their experience with
mental disorders helps normalize the issue.
It's the responsibility of the University to
promote, fund and support CAPS in its efforts
to improve mental health wellness. The more
events, and the more transparent and accessible
to students these events are, the more power
CAPS has to break social stigmas and address
issues surrounding mental issues.
"We Can All Change the Story: A Celebration
of Hope" was a successful event engineered by
CSG and CAPS that worked to promote an end
for suicide on campus and educated students
about the services available to them. However,
the University should make more events like
this possible by increasing their support and
funding for CAPS.

Barry Belmont, Edvinas Berzanskis, David Harris, Rachel John,
Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh,
Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Melissa Scholke,
Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck,
Linh Vu, Meher Walia, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
In response to 'Prioritizing
Indeed, a study published this week in
minors' health' JAMA Internal Medicine, a respected peer-
reviewed journal, followed 949 smokers'
behaviors over a year, and found that there
TO THE DAILY: was no difference in quit rates between
The recent editorial, "Prioritizing minors' smokers who used e-cigarettes and smokers
health," takes a wrongheaded approach to who did not.
uncertainty in public health research. While it While a single study does not conclusively
correctly acknowledges that more research is demonstrate that e-cigarettes do not help
needed on the long-termhealth effects of e-cig- quitters, it does show that policymakers
arettes, it wrongly asserts that e-cigarettes can should proceed with caution. Nicotine is an
end dependence on tobacco. addictive product, and its use can impact ado-
In reality, the public health community is lescentbrain development. Makers of tobacco
divided on the issue. Some hypothesize that by and nicotine products have historically dis-
switching to e-cigarettes, smokers can indeed missed concerns about their harmful effects
end their dependence on conventional ciga- - which has led to a devastating death toll.
rettes. But quitting is more complicated than E-cigarette makers do not claim that their
that. E-cigarettes could actually discourage products help with quitting - if they did, they
quitting by giving smokers a source of nicotine would be subject to federal regulation as a drug.
they use throughout the day rather than forcing Let's not jump the gun on their behalf.
breaks. The growing popularity of e-cigarettes
could also make the act of smoking normal Tiffany J. Huang
again - which again, discourages quitting. Master ofPublic Health Candidate

Branislav Radeljic is an associate
professor in international politics
at the School of Law and Social
Sciences, University of East London.
In2013,he was avisitingscholar at the
European Union Center of Excellence,
University of California at Berkeley,
and is currently Telluride faculty
fellow, hosted by the University of
Michigan's Department. He is the
author of Europe and the Collapse of
Yugoslavia: , The Role of Non-State
Actors and European Diplomacy, and
editor of Europe and the Post-Yugoslav
Space and DebatingEuropean Identity:
Bright Ideas,DimProspects.
It is truly interesting to observe
the differences that characterize the
approaches to doctoral research in
politics in America and Britain. To
begin with, while the former perceives
the readiness to argue, challenge,
debate and offer contrasting
standpoints as an opportunity to
deepen academic links, the latter is
very careful about such aspects of
academic upbringing as if they could
eventually generate animosity. Of
course, it should be noted that on
various occasions, the American idea
about freedom of the academic mind
could easily lead to Q&A sessions that
have nothingto do with the presented
topics. But, this is still less worrisome,
as sometimes-irrelevantquestions can
serve as a basis for some new, relevant
ones. Thus, while British approach
can teach us to be more judgmental
about the speaker and their talk,
American approach can teach us to be
more creative and flexible vis-A-vis the
academic scholarship.
Flexibility of mind and options,
in general, can also be problematic,
especially when thinking about
practical issues: it is generally much
quicker (not necessarily easier, as
sometimes imagined) to obtain a
Ph.D in the UK than in the US. While
American graduate students are
bombarded with all sorts of literature
and, more importantly, expected
to prove a detailed familiarity
with aspects of often-questionable
usefulness, UK doctoral candidates
are expected to know primarily
about aspects closely related to their
research puzzle (everything else
seems to be a luxury). But, this is what
doing a Ph.D is supposed to be, isn't
it? This kind of discrepancy can be
attributed to the overall approach to
doctoral studies as well as to the role
playedby advisors (US) or supervisors
(UK). In fact, it seems that even these
two words suggest two different roles:
is to advise doctoral students by
providing them with additional ideas,
numerous questions and possible
directions to consider, in Britain, the
role of a supervisor is to supervise,
meaning to guide and tell the students
what to do (in a polite way, of course)
and if not doing it the supervisor-
expected way, to correct them. This
somehow indicates that supervisors
are often expected to be experts

in the field (or at least the leading
supervisor), whereas advisors are not
- an important aspect suggesting
that advisors can also learn a lot from
their doctoral candidates. Such an
exchange of knowledge could lead to
joint publications - something that,
generally speaking, seems to happen
more often in the US than in the UK.
The advising approach is lesgthier
and usually a couple ofyeatsarmgone
before clear-cut research question(s)
and main argument(s) are established.
On the other hand,the Europeans tend
to have their research design before
theyeven apply for doctoral programs,
as applications are judged based on
the overall quality of the submitted
research proposal. The preparation
American doctoral students must go
through is intended to help them to
consolidate their arguments and often
to defend them in a more convincing
way (including conferences and
workshops where they present early
European colleagues tend to modify
their originally presented proposals or
employed in most social science
areas, what seems quite striking is
the obsession with dependent and
independent variables and the power
of numbers and percentages amongst
American doctoral candidates. In fact,
it seems that it has become impossible
to present a good research prospectus
in the US without having the two
variables and some idea about what
they are likely to show. This could
haveto dowiththe whole post-Second
World War number mania when
polls, percentages and accompanying
predictions came to occupy an
important place in social sciences. In
May 2012, I was invited to serve as a
Student Research Workshop on the
European Union, hosted by the EU
Center of Excellence at the University
of California at Berkeley, and I was
amazed to hear that every single
presentation had the two variables
and, in fact, proudly insisted on their
relevance. According to one of the
presented papers,numbers are enough
(sometimes 100 interviewees out of
over 500 million inhabitants of the
EU) to tell us how the Union exactly
works,how it is likely to respond to the
present and future crises, whether the
concept of European identity is a valid
one and so on. But, is it credible to say
that the two variables can explain
almost any EU-related research topic
or should the students be allowed to
be a bit more flexible when conducting
research? Perhaps, the issue is that
numbers - and, more relevantly,
percentages - have consolidated
their position really well, to the extent
that they are often used as the only
accurate source of information and
thus no junior researcher is really
willing to challenge their power.
Interestingly, when recently asked
aboutherexperienceas avisitingfellow

at a top ranked American university, a
colleague ofmine describeditas akind
of Disneyland for academics. While
"playing" with available resources,
peers and, most importantly, new
ideas, academics tend to produce some
new, cutting-edge scholarship and
this is where the US seems to be ahead
any other country or region. Apart
from explaining some sectionsof the
rankings, this could probably explain
the US-based university presses' right
to be extremely picky when it comes to
scholarship they want to consider and
possibly publish. Another colleague of
mine has recently had the following
experience: after approaching an
American university press and
sending in the whole manuscript, a
set of constructive comments was
provided by the reviewers who said
that the submitted work was good
and that they themselves would be
very happy to use it and cite it, but still
required some (substantial) changes.
However, the publisher kept the right
to say and actually warnthe submitter
that even after all the changes have
been made, the reviewers might still
decide to reject the manuscript in
which case the whole process would
terminate there. Needless to say how
frustrating such a response for an
ambitious junior scholar mustbe!
As already noted, the rankings
show that the world's best
universities are mostly US-based.
Although we can argue that
rankings often tend to be defined by
parameters that should not really
matter to prospective researchers,
there are many aspects that cannot
be ignored and here I primarily refer
to the funding available to conduct
(post)graduate study in politics. In
this respect, Americans can afford
to finance their PhD candidates to
sit and go through both relevant and
irrelevant methods and scholarship,
whereas the UK-based researchers
are often conditioned by tight
deadlines to complete, submit and
defend their PhDs.Still,in both cases,
a good PhD is a finished PhD and it is
actually here where the real fight for
a permanent position in academia
begins. Indeed, the question of the
job market is the one that remains
the most pressing, both in the system
that rushes through and the one that
seems to be significantly slower.
Given the disappointing numbers of
new jobs in academia at the moment,
contrasted with the growing
numbers of available PhD holders,
one could potentially find it easier to
opt for a longer, American version of
conducting a doctoral study and thus
enjoy as many aspects of research as
possible. Some others would rather
do it the quick, British way, and then
consider all sorts of jobs, including
the idea that they will not be back in
academia at any time soon.
Branislav Radeljic is a visiting
faculty fellow for the Department of
History and the Telluride Association.

mia across the pond

What this means now is that Paul
[Schaffer] and I can be married.
- David Letterman said in jest as he announced his retirement during last week's
episode of the "Late Show with David Letterman".

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