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Holiday shopping apps

Better Christmas List
($1.99 iOS, Free Android)
Keep track of what you spend and who you spend it on, on something better than that crumpled up piece of paper in your pocket.  With Better Christmas List you can track every cent that you have spent, create special lists and establish a budget for yourself in case you go overboard.  In the most likely event that you do exceed your budget, Better Christmas List will alert you.  A gift registry guide will allow you to record what gifts you have bought so you don’t buy two of the same for your friends.

iThank You
($1.99 iOS)
If you receive tons of gifts this season, remembering to write thank you notes can be difficult.  iThank You helps you record what gifts you were given and who gave it to you. It also informs you if their address is in your phone and will automatically have the address appear by their name.  After mailing out a thank you card you can mark that off on your list.

(FREE iOS and Android)
   Holiday shopping can be one of the longest and tedious things we do throughout the holiday season, always shopping for the best bargains.  What may be $400 in one store may be $350 in a store just down the street, and this app takes the hassle of driving store to store to compare prices. It allows you to scan the barcode or input the item description so ShopSavvy can search nearby retailers for the item and price.

Brain foods can help enhance your grades

Finals week can be quite overwhelming for most students. With tests, papers and oral exams right around the corner, I’m quite positive it will be a week of staying up to the wee hours of the morning, and yes, regretting procrastinating. But fear not my fellow student counterparts, there are a lot of brain foods out there that will  keep your energy afloat and help you ace your finals. Adding these brain foods to your daily diet will help you maintain a healthy, alert and happy brain.

Did you know that food can affect the brain in minutes? Getting your daily dose of omega 3’s, fruits and veggies will keep a steady source of energy flowing in your body and keep you going throughout the day. Don’t consume foods and drinks that have a lot of sugar. All this will do is cause a spike in your blood sugar  and result in you feeling  grumpy and tired. Instead make a blueberry smoothie or choose a healthy bowl of cereal for breakfast and add blueberries. Blueberries are well known for their role in improving motor skills and helping your overall learning capacity and are often called the best berry for your brain. Most berries are full of antioxidants that are great for boosting the brain. You can help reverse the effects of aging on the brain by eating these blueberries once a day. Berries have fisetin and flavonoid in them, which are great for improving your memory.

Green and black tea are also beneficial for your brain because it is full of catechins. Catechins are great for keeping your mind sharp, fresh, and functioning properly. Not only do they keep your brain working right, they also allow it to relax and help to fight against mental fatigue. While green tea is much more potent than black tea, both are extremely good for you. Tea is very  good to drink early in the morning before you head off to school. Try a cup to keep you feeling alert.

Salmon is also an excellent food choice to include in your diet, because it has Omega-3  fatty acids that helps the brain with memory  and is a strong contender in fighting against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. And it just doesn’t stop at fish only, but eggs are awesome brain foods too.  According to the Livestrong website, eggs contain choline which is a very important building block of brain cells and helpful in improving your memory.

Snack foods such as nuts and seeds are also good brain foods. Nuts such as cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, are good for your brain. Nuts and seeds are also full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. These nutrients allow you to think more clearly. They have a natural antidepressant in them and are great for cognitive function, brain nourishment and memory.

Green vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach are also great for your brain. These vegetables help greatly when it comes time to remember old information.These foods have vitamin B6, B12, and folate, which are great compounds needed within the brain to break down homocysteine levels, which can lead to forgetfulness. These vegetables are high in iron content. If there is not enough iron intake, brain cognitive activity will slow down greatly.

Now that you are eating these foods, there shouldn’t be any problem in getting all A’s on your exams. Below are a few recipes to help you concentrate and pass all of your finals.

Berry Booster Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 cup of boysenberries
  • 1 cup of lowfat plain or raspberry yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of lowfat or fat-free milk
  • 2 cups of ice


Sassy Salmon Burger

  • 14 3/4 oz. of canned salmon, drained
  • 1 cup of toasted wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup of sliced green onions
  • 3 egg whites
  • 4 tbsp. of water
  • 2 tbsp. of fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp. of salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tbsp. of hot pepper sauce, as desired
  • 1 tbsp. of canola or vegetable oil
  • 5 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 medium size ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves, rinsed, well-drained

Talking zombies with “Walking Dead” writer

America’s most popular cable show, “The Walking Dead,” is near their third mid-season on AMC, looking at the good and bad in humans during the zombie apocalypse.  Created by a staff of writers and producers, Scott M. Gimple, a writer on the  show, sat down with the Daily Sundial to discuss writing and The Walking Dead.

Stunt actors, John Cooper, left, and Elizabeth Davidovich, right, play zombies on the set of “The Walking Dead,” the zombie series on AMC in June 2012. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Time/MCT)

The Daily Sundial: What got you into writing?
Scott Gimple: “When I was about eight or nine years old, I started reading comics, I had just moved to New Jersey, and one of the first things I remember doing was going to a newspaper stand with my dad.  I hadn’t thought about comics until that point, saw them in front of me and picked up a bunch.  I started reading them with the letters, columns, I came to think about how they were being written.  It might have been right around the same time the big movies were coming out, I realized the stuff was written, and I started doing it myself.  Writing stories and comics, finding it really enjoyable, and whether people were humoring me or not in school with people liking what I was doing was encouraging.  From an early age I wanted to become an assistant editor out of college at DC Comics, then hopefully become an editor, then hopefully get into writing like I had seen a lot of editors do.  Hopefully someway be able to Segway into TV and movies as well.  It’s basically the plan that I have been following, following the life plan of a nine year old.”

DS: Advice for those interested in writing for the industry?
SG: “The number one thing to do is to write.  Make sure you enjoy it, that it is something you love doing, that you would do regardless of whether you were paid or not.  There are periods where you are paid, and periods where you aren’t paid.  It shouldn’t be something that is a chore that you hate doing.  To somebody in high school or college, find your voice, because when you are ready to go looking for a job you will have a portfolio and examples.  Don’t be writing about writing all the time or reading about it, get a well-rounded education so it can translate to your writing style.  Definitely should not be able to just write the way you speak, the way you live surprise yourself and not fall into a rut, make yourself imaginative.”

DS: How did you get hooked up with “The Walking Dead”?
SG: “I didn’t have any connection to the show, I didn’t know anyone that worked on the show, it was just gratuitous.  It was some good agent thing by my agent, they had some turnover in the staff after the first season and they were looking for new writers.  My agent got my material to AMC, AMC liked it.  It was a long process meeting with Glen Mazzara, Robert Kirkman, and others.  Meeting a ton of people was like trying to get through to the Supreme Court, I was a little nervous coming on the show having been on a lot of shows with a lot of one seasons and out with a lot of drama behind the scenes.  It’s been a terrific experience and I definitely enjoy the people I work with.”

DS: Were you a fan of the comics?
SG: “I was reading through the trade paperbacks a little slowly, I was not a monthly reader, I have since shifted to a monthly reader.  It’s a very interesting thing to read the book in a smaller collection rather than a multi-issue collection.  It sort of changes the way the story hits you, the monthly one, is a lot more intense than the shock of a collection where you can turn the page and see the next issue.  I have read the whole series about three to four times, and I am often intimidated by it while we work on the TV show, I love it.  My number one fear is whether or not we are doing it justice.”

DS: You wrote some of the biggest turning points in season two, how did it feel writing them?
SG: “I was really excited, the first one I wrote was episode three where Shane kills Otis.  We had broken stories together in the room, the general story and certain incidents, and that was a story that had evolved out of a pitch that I had made.  We were asked which episode we wanted to write, and everyone wanted to write the episode, it just so happened that I pulled the right straw.  I had a lot of ideas about it, the way the teaser played out, I really lucked out.  Because I did that one, I was in the right place of the rotation to do the mid-season finale.  Doing that episode was one of the best experiences I’ve had in TV.”

DS: Does the show go strictly off the comics?
SG: “The Walking Dead” TV universe is pretty different from the comic universe.  Just to start, theirs characters on the show that weren’t in the comic books.  Things are markedly different from the comic book, but in the same respect we go through periods where we circle around the comic book and use more here and there.  I enjoy writing stuff inspired by the comic book and take a little turn, to surprise the reader and viewer, to heighten the scenes and emotion of the characters on the show.  Robert Kirkman is there in the room with us every day and he is always excited to play around with what he has created.”

DS: What would you do in case of a zombie apocalypse? How long could you survive?
SG: “First I’d like to answer with Robert Kirkman’s answer ‘he would jump off a bridge immediately,’ he just figures he would be dying horribly.  I definitely would not do that, I think about this a lot, if I was in LA I would head to Catalina Island.  I’ve never been to it, I don’t know a lot about it, I know they have some farming, buffalo, and bison.  Getting onto an island is probably the smartest thing, it is more manageable as far as population goes.  If anyone dies though they turn into a zombie and can start the infection and crisis all over again.  One of the biggest parts of the show, I believe there is a good side and a bad side of man.  People don’t just becomes monsters when crisis strikes, some people do and some people don’t, I think people could work together to survive.  Being an optimist I could survive and have a long life.

Men’s Basketball- CSUN fails zone test, UCLA rolls to 82-56 victory

Junior guard Josh Greene drives against UCLA in CSUN’s loss Wednesday night. The Matadors failed to consistently get into the paint and only earned five free throws. Charlie Kaijo / Assistant Photo Editor

WESTWOOD­—Live by the three and die by the three.

It’s a moniker any basketball player at any level has heard in their days, yet CSUN learned the hard way Wednesday night as they shot a mere 19 percent from beyond the arc en route to a 82-56 romping at the hands of the much bigger UCLA lineup in the Pauley Pavilion.

CSUN threw up 26 three-point shots, only connecting on five, but they had no choice after multiple failed attempts at penetrating the Bruins’ lengthy zone defense.

“Their length hurt us,” said head coach Bobby Braswell “Those big guys, as tall as they are, as long as they are, they made it that much tougher and that bothered us…We knew they were going to play zone. Didn’t know they were going to play it all 40 minutes, but they played it all game.”

The Northridge defense allowed UCLA to shoot an astounding 53 percent from the field while also getting outrebounded 47-35.

CSUN’s offense didn’t do much better, hitting 32 percent of its shots, and only getting to the charity stripe five times on the night.

“We’ve been averaging close to 25 free-throws a game and to get only five says a lot,” Braswell said.

Sophomore Stephan Hicks led Northridge with 11 points, three steals and two rebounds. Freshman guard Landon Drew, facing his brother Larry Drew II of UCLA, put up 10 points, two assists and a steal in 23 minutes off the bench.

The Bruins jumped out to an early 6-0 lead while CSUN looked like bystanders on the defensive end. Northridge managed to battle its way back to a tie ballgame with six straight points of its own highlighted by an alley-oop from Hale-Edmerson to Hicks.

CSUN hung in early and took the 14-12 lead after freshman Brandon Perry put away a layup while getting fouled but failed to convert on the following free throw.

Northridge’s offense struggled to get any penetration, settling for multiple three-pointers, and extended its deficit to six before taking a timeout.

“We could have been more aggressive,” Hicks said. “We played soft tonight. We could have boxed out more but we were just no the more aggressive team.”

The Matadors came out of the break with a busted play while UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad ran the court on the ensuing possession and turned in a three-point play.

UCLA went on a 16-3 tear, pushing its advantage to 28-17, before the Matadors could respond with five quick points.

CSUN failed to keep up the new-found offense and the Bruins closed out the half with a 10-2 run, highlighted by another Muhammad slam, leaving UCLA ahead 38-24 after the first.

Northridge shot just over 30 percent from the field in the first half while UCLA managed to shoot 45 percent, outscoring CSUN in the paint, 26-14.

CSUN’s struggles penetrating the Bruins’ defense continued in the second half and allowed the Bruins to extend the gap with an 11-2 run.

“We looked like freshmen and sophomores tonight,” Braswell said about his team, the youngest in the country. “I don’t know if we were intimidated or what but we just didn’t play as hard as we’d been playing.”

The stellar shooting of UCLA continued as the Bruins shot over 53 percent throughout the half while the Matadors continued to depend on the long ball, shooting 19 percent from beyond the arc in the second.

CSUN began to look as if it were attempting a comeback in the latter half of the second but the game was well out of reach as the Bruins continued to pound the boards.

“We knew we had to respond or things were going to get ugly,” said junior guard Josh Greene. “This year we’ve been known for punching back but we haven’t done that these past two games.”

UCLA built up its lead to as many as 28 before the crowd started chanting for Adria Gasol, the Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol’s younger brother, to make his UCLA debut.

Despite the efforts, the crowd didn’t see its beloved celebrity sibling, but did see the Bruins easily cruise to the victory.

The Bruins had three of five starts in double digits while Norman Powell came off the bench and added 17 points, eight rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes.


CSUN community honors those lost with candlelight memorial

A panel on resources available to students on campus and a candlelight memorial was held Wednesday to remember those that have died by suicide and honor survivors of either depression or suicide as part of Beat the Blues Week.

Representatives from the University Counseling Services, CSUN Helpline, Pride Center, Veteran’s Resource Center, Resource Center, Peer Health Exchange and The Blues Project spoke to students about the resources that are available to them on campus.

“What better event than to inform people about the services on this campus and inviting folks that are working directly in suicide prevention,” said Vaheh Hartoonian, assistant coordinator of peer programs and co-facilitator for The Blues Project.

Konjit Page, from University Counseling Services, told students that they are there to help them in their time of need.

Jessica Lasater, from the CSUN Helpline, told students that the helpline takes calls ranging from computer problems to depression.

Lasater said that the top three calls they get are for suicide, loneliness and depression.

Sarina Loeb, coordinator for the Pride Center, spoke of the peer mentor program and said that it is not only available for LGBTQ students.

Monteigne Staats-Long, coordinator for the Veteran’s Resource Center, spoke to students about the peer mentor program and that one active duty service member commits suicide every day.

Rebecca Struch, from the Peer Health Exchange, told students of the program, which trains college students to go speak to high school students about different health issues ranging from sex education to preventative measures dealing mental health.

After the panel students gathered in front of the Oviatt Library holding flameless tealight candles as they listened to a poem by Elayne Woods, 20, junior interior design major and peer educator at The Blues Project.

Woods, who has dealt with depression and contemplated suicide, read a poem that described someone that acts as if everything is okay while they are thinking about suicide and eventually accepting the fact that being depressed does not mean they are a failure.

Following the poetry reading, a few words were said by Dr. Marshall Brown, the co-founder of The Blues Project, and Shelley Ruelas-Bischoff, associate vice-president for student life.

Students then took their candles and lined the wall of the Oviatt as Vocal Percussion Radio sang.

Thomas Moore, 19, sophomore English and political science double major, heard about the memorial from the Resilient Scholars Program, which aims to empower former foster youth.

“We lost one of our members (and) it really hits home,” said Moore. “We thought everything was fine so it hit us hard because everything seemed normal.”

Mayra Hernandez, 22, junior health care administration major, also attended the event because she knows someone that committed suicide.

“It hits close to home. I lost my brother to suicide,” said Hernandez. “It’s been a while but it still hurts.”

Hernandez said she thought the panel was great because there are a lot of people that need information.

“It was touching and a nice gesture,” she said about the candlelight memorial.

Blues Project sheds light on darkness

The CSUN community gathered on the steps of the Oviatt Library Wednesday night for a candlelight memorial honoring those who ended their own lives or had been impacted in some way by depression or suicide.

Elayne Woods, junior interior design major, opened the memorial by reading a poem she wrote about her struggle with depression from a young age.

“Being depressed doesn’t make me a failure,” she said. “I’m just taking it one step at a time.”

Shelley Ruelas, associate vice president of Student Access and Support Service, was there on behalf of William Watkins, vice president of Student Affairs, to thank those in attendance.

“The issues that have gathered us are heartwrenching. I know you’ve been through that valley, unsure if you would make it,” she said. “When we go through that struggle, we find the strength and hope in knowing that our experiences can have positive impacts on others struggling. There is a well of resilience inside all of us.”

This week has been a time for students to learn about depression awareness and suicide prevention by attending several events put on by the Blues Project and other on-campus organizations as part of Beat the Blues Week.

Vaheh Hartoonian, assistant coordinator for peer programs and co-facilitator for the Blues Project, said this time of year tends to be very stressful for students.

“First, it has to do with the typical stressors associated with the holiday season. Second, we’re just a couple of weeks away from finals week, which is a very challenging part of the semester,” he said. “Generally, we hope to remind students to take care of themselves and each other. We want to promote a positive and encouraging attitude around campus (and) offer information.”

Andrea Elzy, coordinator for the Blues Project, said suicide among college students is a nationwide epidemic.

“Many pressures that this population experience can be tremendous. Academic pressures, professional pressures, and personal pressures can often cause a great deal of stress and emotional distress for many,” she said.

Larisa Villa, a graduate intern with the Blues Project, said the National Institute on Mental Health reported suicide as the second leading cause of death among college students.

“Up to 44 percent of college students also report feeling symptoms of depression, based on the American College of Health Association. That is four to five students out of every 10, which is significant,” Villa said.

Elzy said the decision to have Beat the Blues Week at this time in the semester was important to show the Project is an amazing resource.

“(It’s) an opportunity of involvement for students (and) for the campus community to be immersed in these themes early on in the semester, particularly during the holiday season, which can be difficult for some,” Elzy said. “Additionally, finals week can be a stressful time for students as well, so providing them with additional resources, workshops, and opportunities to de-stress and promote self-care (and care for each other) was equally important.”

Sandra Michel, president of the Blues Project, said it is a really great experience because there are a large group of people that experience suicide or depression. Michel first heard about the project through a psychology department information session.

“They taught you how to get involved in the community,” said Michel, senior psychology major. “I found out about the Blues Project, peer programs, the HelpLine and other resources.”

She stressed that peer mentors are not educational professionals but are there for people that need to talk.

“It’s vital to create a safe environment for individuals,” Michel said.

In addition to working with the Blues Project, Michel also works for the CSUN HelpLine.

“Just last week I had a situation where the individual was suicidal and I needed to de-escalate the situation,” she said. “She told me she had pills in her hand and was going to make the attempt. I asked her to walk away from the harmful object and she started to calm down.”

After the person calmed down, Michel said the girl began to express her feelings.

“I have to care about what’s happening,” she said. “I’m not a mental health professional but I was able to be there and be helpful.”

The Blues Project is unique to CSUN in that it is a program specific to the campus.

“I truly believe in the power of this program, and its ability to support the student community, so the hope is that other administrators at other campuses will feel the same,” Elzy said.

CSUN rock climber lives on the edge

His family starts the countdown for him to jump.

Three, two…

He looks around Lake Mead. Nothing but dirt and dust, sharp-edged rocks around him, a lake below, and the sky above. Palms sweating, heart beating, legs shaking, he feels the adrenaline rush through his body as he peers down from the 55-foot cliff.

The water looks transparent and inviting. It calls him to dive in.  He slowly walks to the tip of the cliff, closes his eyes, and takes a deep breath.


Cliff jumping. It  is the most adventurous thing he has ever done and this is his first time.

Cole Christie, 20, a business major at CSUN, has always had a love for nature, describing himself as an active person. Ever since his first encounter with the outdoors as a Boy Scout, Christie has spent his leisure time canoeing, snowboarding, surfing, camping and everything in between. Nature is his second home, an escape from the worries of today and a sanctuary from all negativity in the world.

“I find almost any reason to be outside,” Christie said. “There’s nothing more liberating than putting away your cellphone for a couple hours and seeing what else life has to offer.”
Although his biggest passion is the outdoors, Christie is also enthusiastic about saving lives. He has dedicated himself to becoming a firefighter. Thus far, he is a certified EMT and working on his way to becoming a paramedic. A long process of exams and physical testing awaits Christie on the journey to reaching his career goal.

“The test entails a great amount of physical and mental exertion,” Christie said. “You  need agility, strength, and lung capacity in addition to psychological strength. Firefighters work in demanding environments that require you to perform in smoke-filled buildings all while carrying heavy equipment.”

Christie also plans on running his own business someday.

“Being a firefighter is really a part-time job,” Christie said.  “You work only twice a week. So I want to have a business of my own on the side as financial support.”
Even with his love for adventure, Christie has never had the chance to explore outside the United States.

“My goal is to backpack to every foreign country at least once,” said Christie. “I’m starting with Canada this winter break.”Christie also plans to skydive, bungee jump, and run the LA Marathon this year all for the first time.

But for Christie, cliff jumping will always hold a thrilling spot. From 35 feet high at Lake Sherwood to 55 feet high at Lake Mead, he gets a new rush no matter how many times he jumps off another cliff.

“I love it,” Christie said. “My heart races and I get that sense of accomplishment after that I only get from doing something this daring. ”

One of Christie’s most memorable times was cliff jumping at Malibu.

“Six of my friends and I planned the jump six months before and looked forward to it,” Christie said. “We reached the top of the cliff, swan dove 25 feet, and front flipped on the way down. It was one of the best experiences we’ve had.”

Matadors learn how to relax through meditation

Students learned about relaxation methods and how to handle stress at Beat the Blues Week’s Finals Prep: Relaxation Workshop on Nov. 28 with Paulette Theresa, Erica Ide and Sara Mack, who work at the University Counseling Services.

While sitting in a circle, students discussed what stresses them out and how they relax on their own, including things like nature walks, massages, working out, being productive and meditation.

“I take 30-minute to one hour naps. I also walk my dog. I know you are supposed to walk your dog but I don’t view it as a chore. It allows me to take a break from school or work,” said Erika Martinez, 24, double major in deaf studies and Chicano/a studies.

Sara Mack, a post doctoral intern, led the meditation part of the workshop. Students were told to breathe in through their noses and out from their mouth while tranquil music played. Some were encouraged to uncross their legs and to let their hands fall comfortably, while others closed their eyes.

While students relaxed and did breathing exercises, Mack told everyone to think about a “beautiful place in nature” that they feel safe in.

After 30 minutes of breathing exercises and meditation, students opened their eyes and shared how relaxed they felt.

Mack closed the workshop by urging students to do these exercises whenever they feel stressed or panicked.

“It takes practice to get these techniques down but once you do, you can always use them,” said Mack.

Women’s Volleyball: CSUN ends season with three consecutive straight-set wins; misses NCAA tourney

The Matadors (21-10, 12-6 in Big West) fell short of a Big West title this year, but made progressive strides as the season wore on.

“The team’s development is a highlight for me,” head coach Jeff Stork said.  “We were running a couple of new systems that we saw the team buy into and struggled early, but then understood them more and started to execute them on a very high level in the second half of the season.”

After starting the season going 2-1 in several tournaments, the team appeared to find its groove by sweeping the Rice Invitational and starting Big West conference play on a 3-1 tear that included a near upset of powerhouse Hawaii.  Soon after, Northridge hit a rough patch, losing to UC Irvine twice, Hawaii and UC Santa Barbara before finishing the season on a 6-2 run, including a thrilling five-set win at archrival Long Beach State.

“There were a couple of missed opportunities,” Stork said.  “In my opinion, we are a very good volleyball team and the fact that we are not in the playoffs is a disappointment.  There were three matches where we had [leads] of 14-12 in the fifth set and we lost three of those.”

Junior outside hitter Mahina Haina led the team with 320 kills and was named an honorable mention to the Big West All-Conference Team.

The Matadors were known for their blocking up front, led by sophomore middle blocker Casey Hinger and junior setter Sydney Gedryn.  Hinger completed 147 total blocks and Gedryn had 124.  The duo was named to the Big West First Team All-Conference for the second consecutive year.  Fellow sophomore middle blocker Sam Kaul chipped in with 115 blocks.

Senior libero Cindy Ortiz looked to improve on her 2011 numbers, telling the Sundial before the season started that she wanted to go out with a bang and show growth since her freshman year.  Ortiz finished with 22 service aces and 556 digs, shattering her junior year numbers and taking the school record for digs.

“I’ve come so far being unrecruited and every year, I thought I got so much better,” Ortiz said after the final game against Cal State Fullerton.  “I’m so proud of myself, about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished.”

The team will return nearly the entire roster next year, save for Ortiz and fellow defensive specialist Monica McFarland who are graduating.  Stork praised his outgoing libero for going from a surprise addition to the team to record holder.

“Cindy was actually a tryout player, so we didn’t have her on our radar, so she’s a treat for us,” Stork said.  “She’s an unbelievable player and had a great career here.  She grew as a person, as a volleyball player and she was a huge contributor to our success the last couple of years.”

Cindy Ortiz, focuses on a game against Loyola Marymount University. This year she improved on her 2011 numbers and took the school record for digs.

“Teams are not stagnant and how you win and lose can change season to season,” Stork said.  “Monica and Cindy were important to this team, but no player is irreplacable.  We will find a different way to be successful next year.  We cannot replace them, but we will be different.  We feel we have a lot of good players in this program that will take up whatever slack there is now that Cindy and Monica have left.”

Overall, Stork was satisfied with the team’s performance, despite the missed playoff berth.

“It’s been an incredible group of young athletes and it has been a privilege to coach them,” Stork said.

Dealing with depression an important topic during Blues Week

With the holiday season and finals week just around the corner, dealing with depression, was the subject of a lecture by Dr. Alison Freeman, continuing The Blues Project weeklong look at depression and prevention.

“It is a horrible stigma, one out of five students will be depressed,” said Freeman.  “Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 18 to 30-year-olds, and it’s a really serious problem.  The Blues Project tries to get rid of that stigma and provide options.”

Focusing on the three major types of depression, major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, students in attendance were informed of ways to not only help identify warning signs in fellow students, but options for counseling.

“I think it’s a very important topic to know about, and I went because I wanted to find out more,” said Crystine Kim, a sophomore social welfare major through an interpreter.  “It’s also to help myself and help others cope with depression.”

Depression is a treatable medical illness that affects a person’s mood and interferes with their daily life, said Freeman.  Different causes of depression that were highlighted were untreated mental illness, genetics and situational issues.

“When someone has major depression, it’s hard to cover that up and is caused by a major event.  With dysthymic, you may not be able to identify why they are depressed,” said Freeman.

Students in attendance were introduced to the different symptoms of each of the depressions and ways that they can help combat them, whether for themselves or others in their lives.  The lecture was not about self-diagnosis, but rather on how to help yourself and others, and where you can get help.

“One of the biggest problems is avoiding your friend that may be suffering from depression and giving them space.  You want to listen to them and keep in contact with them, following up on how they feel.  You are not their counselor, so don’t feel guilty if you can’t fix it, you can always recommend counseling,” said Freeman.

CSUN provides multiple resources for students to cope with depression or other mental disorders, either through University Counseling Services or CSUN Helpline.  Students are allowed eight sessions per academic year with a counselor at the University Counseling Services.

Freeman, the only deaf and hard of hearing counselor on campus, helped sign the lecture for those in attendance, mentioning how a lack of communication in the community creates a higher instance of depression.

“Nearly 90 percent of those in the deaf community come from a hearing household, and it is a huge stigma in the deaf community which makes it harder for treatment,” said Freeman.

At the end of the presentation, Freeman informed the audience of different ways that they can help relieve stress and stave off depression.  One of the most helpful ways was through exercise, no matter how big or small, that the release of endorphins is equal to that of any anti-depressant medicine they may be prescribed.

Students walked away feeling as if they had learned something new from the information provided both during and after the lecture, with pamphlets handed out to those in attendance.

“I learned that depression can be small and big, it can have a lot of symptoms, and knowing the symptoms I can inform others,” said Kayla LaBruno, a junior sociology major through an interpreter.

CSUN rock climber lives for adventure

His family starts the countdown for him to jump.

Three, two…

He looks around Lake Mead. Nothing but dirt and dust, sharp-edged rocks around him, a lake below, and the sky above. Palms sweating, heart beating, legs shaking, he feels the adrenaline rush through his body as he peers down from the 55-foot cliff.

The water looks transparent and inviting. It calls him to dive in.  He slowly walks to the tip of the cliff, closes his eyes, and takes a deep breath.


Cliff jumping. It  is the most adventurous thing he has ever done and this is his first time.

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