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July 18, 2013 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2013-07-18
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Thursday, July 18, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
C 4 Igan Ba ly
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The comfort zone

Thursday, July 18, 2013 1 l
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'Orange is the new show to beat




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial hoard.
All other signed articles andillustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
A call for tuitionequality
Regents should approve revisions amid Congress's inaction
At their meeting Thursday, the University's Board of Regents will
consider proposed revisions to the University's in-state tuition
guidelines that would make it possible for undocumented
students from Michigan - who currently pay out-of-state tuition rates
- to qualify for in-state tuition. If approved, these revisions would be
a major victory for the student-led Coalition for Tuition Equality and
affiliated student organizations, as they have sought an opportunity for
undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition since October2011.
By approving these revisions, the regents can greatly aid undocumented
students in the state and do their part in what has become a nationwide
movement towards revamping immigration policy.

his Friday, the first session
- of the camp I'm working at
this summer will come to
a close. Nearly 600 campers will
be leaving the
woods and the
new friends they
have made and
return home.
At the end
of many school 1
years, it's easy to
question wheth- DEREK
er or not I've WOLFE
actually learned
anything. I know
I've spent countless hours studying
and working on class assignments,
but it's not unreasonable to wonder
if I've truly advanced academically.
The same question can be asked
for camp, just in a very different
context - have I grown as a person?
The week before camp - known as
"precamp" - the staff is essentially
preached two core values: keep
the kids safe and let them have the
summer of their lives.
But I think there's a third
unwritten value that is perhaps
more important than having fun -
find a way to get kids to break out of
their comfort zones.
The comfort zone is defined as
a state of mind in which anxiety and
the feeling of risk are minimized.
Mental boundaries are set and
it takes immense courage for
anyone to step outside of the "zone,"
myself included.
But I recognize there are many
reasons why it's important to break
out of the comfort zone. To name
a few, it maintains a sense of drive
and ambition. If we're too unwill-
ing to leave the comfort zone, then
it's likely we'll never get around to
accomplishing the things that could
lead to a meaningful life. From per-
sonal experience, each and every
time I've stepped outside my com-
fort zone - and that can be as sim-
ple as making a phone call to a total
stranger - the added experience
makes the next challenge easier to
deal with. And lastly, it can help us
live with a more open mind. Any
idea I've pursued that at first seemed
risky or scary but ended up work-
ing out provides confidence that a
similar idea could result similarly.
Essentially, there should be no fear
of being bold. We're at our best at a
level called "optimal anxiety" and in
order to reach it, risk-taking must be
a part of our daily agenda.
As a counselor, the campers I've
watched overall have a different
willingness to step outside the

comfort zone. Some will attempt a
Recreation, Observation, Problem
Solving, Experiential Education and
Self-Esteem course head-on with
no thought whatsoever and others
will overthink an activity to the
point of mental paralysis. There's
absolutely nothing that can be said
to make these campers participate in
activities they're afraid of.
Dealing with this range of emo-
tions is challenging. Trying too hard
and ultimately forcing the camper
to do something they fear could be
traumatizing and diminish the con-
fidence they have. But if we - the
counselors - don't try hard enough,
then these campers will remain
within the comfort zone and will
never know what they're missing if
they don't expand their horizons.
We want to make
them better
After spending nearly every
moment with these campers for
three weeks, the camper-counselor
relationship becomes very close,
almost parent-like. We want -
more than anything - to see these
teenagers reach their potential,
whatever that may be. Like I said in
my last column, there is no great-
er feeling than watching a child
accomplish something for the first
time. And there's also no greater
frustration than watching a child
not accomplish something they are
capable of doing.
Last year, my friend joked that
instead of writing camp counselor
on his resume, he would write that
he was a "child development special-
ist." And that's a quite accurate job
description. Each session, the goal is
to leave each camper with a greater
sense of self-worth and confidence.
Ultimately, we want to make them
better people.
Stepping-out of the comfort zone
- no matter how small the step - is
where that change begins. There's
no debate-about whether its easy to
do that or not because it's hard, no
doubt. But being able to dig deep for
a split second and find the courage
to do something out of the ordinary
routine has long-lasting positive
effects down the road. '
-Derek Wolfe can be reached
at dewolfe@umich.edu.

Netflix's lastest
series challenges
industry standards
ManagingArts Editor
I had a few concerns about Netf-
lix's latest original series, "Orange
is the New Black." I worried it
would expect us
to sympathize "
exclusively with
its main char- Orange iS
acter '-the very the New
white and very B
privileged Piper Bck
Chapman - as Season 1
she navigates the
Litchfield wom- Netfxli
en's federal pris-
on. I worried it would succumb to
white saviorism, presenting Piper
as the prison angel among a cast
of anonymous criminals. I wor-
ried it would romanticize prison
life in the same way creator Jenji
Kohan's previous work "Weeds"
romanticized the drug trade.
"Orange" does none of these
Piper Chapman (Taylor Schil-
ling, "The Lucky One"), with her
attractive fiance Larry (Jason
Biggs, "American Pie") and suc-
cessful artisanal soap company,
basically lives one of those posh
New York lifestyles that only
seems to exist in Nora Ephron
movies and the New York Times
style section. But none of that mat-
ters anymore as she finds herself

facing a 15-month stint in federal
prison for a crime she committed
10 years prior with her then-girl-
friend Alex (Laura Prepon, "That
70s Show"), a cool, sexy inter-
national drug trafficker (pro tip:
don't fall for cool,' sexy interna-
tional drug traffickers, no matter
how cool and sexy they are).
Piper arrives at Litchfield,
determined to make her time in
prison count, maybe learn a craft
or two, and then return to her
fianc6 Larry as a new, enlightened
woman. She's met quickly with
the harsh, metallic clamor of pris-
on reality. It's a place where say-
ing the wrong thing at the wrong
time can leave you without food
for days, a place where money is
replaced with a barter system that
includes everything from cans of
Pepsi to duct tape to sex. The only
new crafts she learns are how to
fix broken lamps, how to fashion
shower slippers out of Maxi pads
and how to live locked up with the
ex-girlfriend who landed her in
this shit hole in the first place.
"This isn't 'Oz,' " a correctional
officer remarks during Piper's
Litchfield check-in. With its sharp
humor and female-centric sto-
rytelling, the series isn't exactly
of the same brand as "Oz," but
to call it too watered down to
be compared to the harrowing
HBO series - or worse, "Oz" for
women - is insulting and untrue.
"Orange" uses graphic violence
sparingly, but when it does, it's
powerful. There's darkness with-
in the walls of Litchfield. The tone
weaves expertly between sweet

and poisonous. A jubilant celebra-
tion - set to Kelis's "Milkshake,"
obviously - for an inmate who's
finally getting out takes a nasty
turn that lands Piper in solitary
for an isolating Thanksgiving
marked by nonsensical echoes
and moldy bologna.
In Piper's first few weeks
behind bars, "Orange" starts to
unfurl a series of wonderful sur-
prises. Though we stay close to
Piper throughout the 13-episode
first season, the story isn't just
hers. She shares it with a whole
crew of intricate characters who
are far from anonymous. There's
Morello (Yael Stone, "Spirited"),
who spends her days planning
her wedding with a boyfriend
who never visits and screwing the
lesbian ex-heroin-junkie Nich-
ols (Natasha Lyonne, "Weeds").
There's Daya (newcomer Dascha
Polanco), who tries so desperate-
ly to not end up like her mother
(Elizabeth Rodriguez, "Prime
Suspect"), a fellow inmate who
welcomes her to Litchfield with
a motherly slap across the face.
The Russian head chef with a
bad temper, Red (Kate Mulgrew,
"Warehouse 13"), acts as a moth-
er figure to many of the girls,
including Tricia (newcomer Mad-
eline Brewer), a lovesick junkie
who keeps a handwritten ledger
of everything she's ever stolen
so she can one day pay her debts.
Piper's roommate Miss Claudette
(Michelle Hurst, "Blue Bloods")
is fiercely tidy, and whispered
rumors that she killed a man fol-
low her everywhere. When it's

time for a new 'do, the girls know
to go to resident stylist Sophia
(Laverne Cox, "Transform Me"),
a trans woman who befriends
a hilariously liberal nun (Beth
Fowler, "Gossip Girl").
Well-placed flashbacks reveal
how some of these characters
ended up in Litchfield, and it
quickly becomes clear that no
one woman belongs here more
than any other. They're full of
flaws and unconventional talents.
They're vastly distinct from one
another, yet their stories overlap
in compelling ways, as relation-
ships - maternal, sexual, amia-
ble, hostile - form and transform
from episode to episode.
The characters -are backed by
a superb cast. Schilling gives a
career-making performance, and
Prepon similarly delivers at an
emotional level we haven't gotten
from her in past work. This cast -
which bursts with talented new-
comers - also strikingly looks
like no other ensemble you'll see
on television, starring women of
varying ages, sizes, races and sex-
ual orientations. With its diverse
representation of women, race
and sexuality play huge roles in
the show's narratives. It explores
trans issues with a candor rarely
found on television and delves
into lesbian love as complexly as
"The L Word" once did (though
it's worth noting that "Orange"
manages, so far, to be more coher-
ent and substantive than "The L
Word" ever was).
When Larry becomes con-
cerned that Piper is getting

too swept up in prison life (her
world suddenly revolves around
the sighting of a fabled chicken,
because fowl folklore is appar-
ently quite powerful in prison),'
he points out it's like living in a
fishbowl. As I barreled through
the first season of "Orange"
(thanks to the release-it-all-at-
once delivery method of Netflix
original programming), I found
myself completely swept up in the
super-detailed world Kohan has
created. With its specificity and
colorful characters, "Orange" is
like a fishbowl you can't help but
love being thrown into.

Under the revised policy,
undocumented students would
be eligible for in-state tuition if
they attended at least two years
of middle school and three years
of high school in the state, gradu-
ated from a Michigan high school
or earned a Michigan high school
equivalency certificate and start
classes at the University within 28
months of graduation. This would
be one of three ways students
could claim eligibility for in-state
tuition - the other two are Michi-
gan residency and being either a
member of the military or having
a family member in the military.
Many undocumented students'
status as non-residents is a result
of their parents bringing them to
Michigan and the U.S. at a young
age - a condition outside of their
control. For the 29,000 undocu-
mented students currently living
in Michigan, a college education,
let alone a University education
- charging out-of-state tuition

- on the average undocumented
household's income of $36,000
per year is virtually impossible
to afford. However, being able to
claim in-state residency and the
corresponding in-state tuition
rate would make attending the
University far more feasible.
But even if the regents approve
these revisions - and they should
- the fundamental issues of an
antiquated federal immigration
policy behind many of the prob-
lems undocumented students face
will remain in place. Currently,
undocumented students can't
apply for federal financial aid.
This is largely because they don't
meet the requirements for acquir-
ing permanent residence visas or
"green cards". Moreover, under
current law there is a backlog of
over four million applications for
these visas. A Senate immigra-
tion reform bill passed in late
June goes a long way towards fix-
ing this problem by providing an

alternative pathway to citizenship
for undocumented immigrants.
But the bill wouldn't permit stu-
dents who have set out on this
path to apply for financial aid, and
House Republicans have stated
they don't intend to introduce a
similarly sweeping package any-
time soon.
With widespread support for
tuition equality evidenced by
CTE's nearly two-year campaign
as well as a Congress that has
proven its capacity for inaction on
important issues such as immi-
gration reform time and time
again, the regents should approve
the proposed in-state tuition
guidelines. Doing so would both
reaffirm the University's commit-
ment to Michigan's residents and
serve as an important gesture of
solidarity to undocumented peo-
ple who - though not American
citizens - desire a world-class
education and a chance to make
their mark in the U.S.

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