Story by Kimia Nikseresht

With midterms finally behind us, we are reminded yet again of the true definition of being a U.Va. student – long hours in the libraries, passionate research papers, innovative discoveries, and the beloved pursuit of knowledge. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are a student body determined to change the world, one project at a time. But this ambitious determination to suc-ceed sometimes comes at a cost to ourselves: stress, the need to achieve perfection, and the inevitable occasional failure.

The truth is, while we are celebrating Halloween and looking forward to Thanksgiving break, fi-nals are right around the corner, and approaching quickly. So, here are some tips and tricks to minimizing anxiety, maximize confidence, and end the semester with a big loud BOOM!

1. Take an exercise break!

It might feel like it’s a waste of time or irresponsible to be at the gym when you have exams to study for, but trust me, it’s a valuable place to spend your time. I’m not saying we all need to have 6-packs by the time finals roll around, but sticking to your pre-existing exercise regimen is the most important tool to staying energized and being more efficient when you do finally sit down to study. What do the experts recommend? Hitting the gym 2-3 times a week, for 30-60 minutes each.

-Try one of the group classes offered at the AFC! Zumba, yoga, kickboxing… They’ve got it all! And since midterms are a less busy time of year for them, you can avoid that “all-eyes-on-me” feeling that comes with being the new one in class.
-Not into that? Hit the pool! The AFC pool and hot tub are an underused resource that can offer both relaxation and a great workout.

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Allyson Cartwright

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center has been sponsoring events on U.Va. Grounds in order to bring attention to this issue. One of these events included, “Survivors and Supporters Unite: A Panel about What Domestic Violence Is, What Its Effects Are, and What We Can Do”. This panel combined stories from two survivors of domestic violence and three experts in domestic violence counseling, including Associate Dean of Students, Nicole Eramo, Child and Adolescent Advocate from the Shelter for Help in Emergency, Lea Calvani, and trauma counselor from the Women’s Center, Cathy Erickson.

The survivors, who were U.Va. students, started off the panel by describing their own experiences with domestic violence. One of the students was in an abusive relationship with her ex-boyfriend. After coming to U.Va. and moving in with him, he began to isolate her from her friends, accuse her of not loving him enough, and harmed himself. With the support of her family and friends, she finally kicked him out of the apartment. Her story was one of confliction. She loved her ex-boyfriend and did have good memories, but ultimately she had to leave him for her own safety. I was surprised with how comfortable she was telling her own story. She is still affected by this abuse, as she admitted to trust issues when entering a new relationship; however she is overcoming this as she is now in a healthy long-term relationship with her current boyfriend.

The other survivor witnessed domestic violence within her family. After coming to U.Va., her father began drinking and physically abusing her mother. With a younger brother at home, this survivor was not only concerned about her mother’s safety, but concerned about his as well. Coming from an Indian family, she said, domestic violence is a hushed issue, which is why her mother has yet to seek help. This survivor had never divulged her story before this panel and her pain was visible. As someone who has never experienced domestic abuse in my family, I cannot imagine how unsafe it must feel for the people who are your protectors, your parents, to be in a dangerous relationship.

After these emotional stories, the panel moved to the experts who explained why domestic abuse happens, how to escape those abusive relationships, and how to help others. Calvani warned that many times victims of abuse miss the red flags because the warning signs mimic the way people behave when they really like someone. For example, texting someone all the time and wanting to know what they are up to or obsessively checking their significant other’s Facebook.

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Hoo's Hoo?

Series by Carly Gorelick

Many CIOs at UVA play a central role in promoting greater spaces and resources for minority students at UVA. The purpose of this spotlight is to give these CIOs that operate for the benefit of minority communities on grounds another platform to be heard and acknowledged. The hope is that this spotlight can encourage recognition and involvement by the student body, particularly going forward into the 2015/2016 academic year. Iris is inspired by the devotion, spirit, and the goals of these CIOs and wants to give credit to these groups accordingly.


Chatting with DeAnza Cook

What is your position in the organization and what does your role entail?
As President of Black Oasis for Learning & Development (BOLD) Research Society, I oversee the operations of the BOLD Executive Board and General Body. I am primarily responsible for managing BOLD’s partnerships across the University, including the Center of Undergraduate Excellence (CUE) and the Office of African American Affairs (OAAA). Most importantly, I set the main agenda for the organization and ensure that all BOLD activities and initiatives are fulfilling the CIO’s mission of empowering students of color to pursue undergraduate research.

What are the ultimate goals of your CIO and how do members work to accomplish them?
The mission of BOLD is to establish and sustain an intellectual oasis that empowers UVa students of African descent to pursue academic research and scholarship opportunities at the University of Virginia and beyond.

Our vision for BOLD is to erect a permanent and sustainable network of black scholars and increase the visibility and presence of researchers of color on grounds.

Our goals are as follows:
• To ensure that students of color have access to vital resources for securing research opportunities
• To encourage students of color to pursue undergraduate scholarship and research opportunities
• To facilitate stronger relationships between underrepresented student groups and the CUE/URN
• To provide a forum for students of color to present their research to a multicultural audience

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Story and art by Kendall Siewert

Disclaimer: I am all for women wearing whatever they choose. If you want to wear a traditionally sexy Halloween costume, by all means, please do it. I just want to give other options besides Sexy Cecil the Lion, ya feel?

1. Amy from Trainwreck

Giving a voice to all 20-somethings who drink too much, have too many one-night stands, or don’t know exactly what they’re doing (read: everyone), Amy is unapologetically herself. If only you could ferry-of-shame home the next morning instead of calling your traditional Uber.
– What you’ll need: A strapless dress or top, a paper bag, a wine bottle, a forgotten sense of dignity
– Your catchphrase: “Monogamy isn’t realistic.”
– When to use it: Whenever people gush over how cute couples costumes are.


2. Cady Heron from Mean Girls

Cady exemplifies the lesson we all learned from Mean Girls: put other women down, and karma will hit you like a bus. Or that a bus will literally hit you. Ditch the “Plastics” costume and dress up as who Cady ultimately becomes: a Mathlete prom queen who breaks off pieces of her crown to give to a bunch of different women. Just make sure you maintain that it is October 3rd no matter how many times people tell you it’s actually Halloween.
– What you’ll need: A blue polo, a varsity-inspired jacket, jeans, a medal, a crown
– Your catchphrase: “The limit does not exist. THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST!”
– When to use it: Your friends suggest you should maybe pass on that 5th Reese’s cup.

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Story by Sammy Scheman
Video by Olivia Knott

If you knew me, you would know that I’m terrified of Shrek – the ogre, the movie, the donkey, the whole thing.

If you knew me, you would know that I’m barely five feet and one inch tall, but I say I’m 5’2” because that is above the height for a legal midget worldwide.

If you knew me, you would know that I’m scared to try foods I’ve never had because once, in third grade, I threw up after I tried guacamole for the first time in front of my whole class. My boyfriend at the time broke up with me.

If you knew me, you would know that my best friend in the world is my mom, my dad is my inspiration, and there is nobody in the world I care about more than my younger brother. I would do anything for any of them.

What I’m saying is, I’m not a monster. I never was. But, I was a bully.

I never stole anyone’s lunch money – Like I said, I’m five feet tall; that never would have worked for me. However, looking back, what I did was much worse.

In fifth grade, I was a complete nerd. I loved school more than anything. Math was fun, I wrote poetry, I read books in my free time. I was quiet and easygoing.

The change was immediate and drastic. After entering middle school, I made a new best friend. She was adventurous, all the boys loved her, and it seemed like every girl wanted to be her. And she wanted to be MY best friend. My whole life began to revolve around her – I remember thinking she was so cool.

Before long, I was the girl they warn you about before you go to middle school. The one who will ditch her old friends to become more popular, make fun of girls who dressed differently, and flirt with boys to no end because that was what was cool. And, as far as I could tell, it was working. I was the most popular girl in the entire eighth grade. Trust me when I tell you, at the time, this was a very important feat.

I had never felt important before. I had always been average. I was average looking, average at sports, quiet, and I felt forgettable. Now, suddenly, everyone knew my name. I mattered.

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