Create an "Instagram Theme" using Filters - Writing Sample 4

You wake up and the first thing you do is check your phone. As you scroll through the Instagram app, you see that photographer you follow has posted another awesome photo. You decide to go look at their profile to see all of their recent work. You wonder to yourself why you have no idea how to make your profile look as cool as theirs. Art is one of the best ways for someone to express themselves. In the beginning, social media wasn’t something that was seen as an art. In 2017, Instagram is the best of both worlds, and combines the two into one art form. Those who are highly invested in the art of social media, look to follow people who have worked to maintain an aesthetically pleasing profile through the use of editing and filters.
          A camera is an obvious important tool for creating a cohesive feed. You can follow in the footsteps of famous photographers or Instagram famous models and only use cameras that are top notch in quality, but you can also just use a point and shoot camera, or the camera on your phone. What you do with the pictures is really the biggest thing to creating a feed that people will want to look at.
            The first step to creating a profile that is pleasing to the eye is to decide what you want your profile to look like. A majority of “themed” profiles usually consist of one main color scheme, using one specific filter, or very specific subject matter, but not always. Senior at North Greenville University, Rebecca Guavera says, “I don’t really choose a ‘theme’ or color scheme with my photos. It’s pretty trendy to stick with a specific tone I’ve found, but I love being eclectic with my photos.” While her photos are not all one color, they are all of similar quality which helps to make her profile more cohesive as a whole. Her photos are taken with a DSLR camera, so they all are representative if that type of quality. Nothing looks out of place. It’s often easier to make a decision on what your profile should look like when you think about what your lifestyle consists of. If you live near the beach or spend a lot of time on vacation, it would make sense to choose a theme that is predominantly blue, or highly saturated with brighter colors. It would be easiest to have photos that match that theme. If you surround yourself with one type of subject matter for a majority of your life, it would be a good idea to pick something specific and stick to it. YouTuber, Dorothy Anderson says she picks her themes “based on the pictures I take or the season.” She chooses her themes based on what is surrounding her in the moment and things she is inspired by. During summers, she has had a very blue feed. As it moved it the fall, she transitioned her photos to be more red and orange.

Photo variation is another important quality in cohesive feeds. When taking pictures, it is important to take lots of them. The number is different for everyone, but take at least ten every time you pull your camera out. Sometimes, you just have to keep taking them until you are satisfied with the number of options you have.  Having many options to choose from make sit easier to find something that will match. “Whenever I like how I look or see a certain thing I stop to take a picture. My family is constantly waiting on me,” says Anderson. She takes lots of pictures so that she has a lot of work to choose from, so she is more likely to have something that will match the theme that she is going for as well as making for an interesting variation. One way to ensure that your feed is not saturated by the same photo over and over again is to use a series of photos. Some Instagrammers will choose a number of photos from a certain photo session and post, for example, three photos. If they choose to stick to that method, they choose to only share a limited amount of photos from each session to avoid over posting on the same type of picture. When a different variation of a photo consumes a feed, followers can get bored or can become uninterested. For example, if one user posts too many similar photos, their followers may become bored with the content they’re seeing. They may think that they are seeing the same picture over and over again.

The easiest way to a cohesive feed is filters, which bring everything together and everyone has their favorite. Whether they are the filters built into the Instagram app, from Adobe Lightroom, or any third party app like VSCO, which is free or Afterlight. VSCO and Lightroom are fan favorites among most Instagrammers and photographers. Guavera says, “I used to edit in Lightroom until my trials ran out, but I normally edit on VSCO and I really like M5 and HB2 [from VSCO].” A majority of people who have cohesive feeds use the same filter on every photo. For example, Anderson says, “I use A6 on VSCO on literally all of my pictures.” In addition to filters, there are other setting changes that can be made including highlight and shadow colors to add something extra to pull pictures together. A couple of photo editing apps also allow you to add artificial light leaks and other such features that can also work together to create a cohesive feel to each photo. After a filter is applied, you can usually just adjust each photo according to the others so they can match. Something else that people often do is to upload their photos to a third party app, like UNUM, which is also free, to see if their photo matches the rest before they upload to their Instagram profile. If it does not look cohesive, it gives you an opportunity to change the settings, or reedit the photo until it looks how you want it to.
            A key way to take good pictures is to use inspiration wherever you can find it. You can be inspired by your surroundings, or your daily activities, like hiking spending time with friends, or any other hobbies you may have. Photographers also make great inspiration. They have beautiful pictures and most of them feature them on their own Instagram profiles. “When I was about 12, I was inspired by Thomas Mangelson who shoots for National Geographic. It was my dream to be a photographer for them, and currently I’m inspired by [travel photographer] Callum Snape,” says Guavera.


The History of the stigma of dangerous dog breeds - Writing Sample 3

You’re coming home from vacation and even though you really hated to leave, there is one thing that makes you so excited to walk in the door after a long day of traveling. Your dog. Your dog gives you more love than any human ever could no matter how many days you leave them alone at home. Loyally, they will take care of you until the very end.  You really wished you could have taken him with you, but the resort did not allow any pets. Now imagine that you try to take your dog with you because other people have taken their pets to the very same place, but when you get there, you are turned away because you have a dog that is classified as “dangerous.”
            All over the world, certain dog breeds are banned from public places and often not accepted at shelters. But, has anyone ever thought about what gave these breeds their reputations?
          While the most popular of certain dog breeds are usually pit bulls and Rottweilers, the list can also include mastiffs, German shepherds, and Dobermans. According to BBC, these breeds began to be seen as dangerous to the American public after “Sports Illustrated” published an issue with the face of a pit bull snarling his teeth on the cover with the title, “Beware of Dog.” They included with the cover, a story of how one dog killed a 2-year-old little boy. This article led to many states banning these breeds.
            Not only are they banned in many states, according to BBC, they are also banned in Ireland. In Australia, they are treated differently in public and are required to wear a different color collar and require owners to have signs posted at their house that they own a dangerous dog to warn the public.
            Dangerous dog breeds have a long history and over time they have been seen as a hero to many and villainous to many others. According to, pit bulls were originally bred for dog fighting as entertainment in Europe. According to BBC, bloodhounds were originally bred for hunting different animals and hunting escaped slaves and criminals. German shepherds were used by the Nazi’s in Germany during World War II to scare people. Rottweiler’s were used for guarding property.
When families moved to America, they brought their dogs who were known as friendly family pets. During that time, they were used for farming, protecting families, watching children and providing friendship to the family. Also according to, the individual dogs that were aggressive with their owners were put down immediately, which meant from there on out, they were bred to be gentle with humans, especially children.
During the world wars, they were seen as poster “children” for America as a sign of fearlessness and protection because of the reputation they had with families and their children.  Now how did these dogs go from family friendly animals to dangerous animals that needed to be avoided at all costs in public?
Dog fighting was outlawed in the United States in 1978, but that did not keep anyone from continuing the practice. Large dogs were seen on the streets with their owners with spiked collars, which eventually turned the public to be afraid of them. The media became interested in the illegal activity that was happening with dog fighting and ruled them as dangerous, according to In “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” bloodhounds are described as “vicious, bloodthirsty beasts.” The media has had a great influence on what people choose to believe about dangerous dog breeds.
            Shelters also tend to take caution when taking in strays. Animal Care, of Greenville, S.C., accepts every animal that is brought to them regardless of breed. Volunteer, Jenna Tyrpak says, “The reality for a volunteer at an animal shelter is that you can’t predict how an animal will behave based on breed.” Tyrpak started volunteering in 2017 because of her love for dogs and just wanted to help out. “The animals I work with are often strays, and I don’t know what they’ve been through before,” says Tyrpak.
            Recently, media sources have tried to reverse the image that dangerous dog breeds have on the public. Buzzfeed has published many articles about pit bulls that include stories submitted from users about their own dogs.  There are also advocates who are working hard to reverse the stigma. According to the humane society, “One of our most recent legislative fights, corrected a legal problem that declared all pit bulls as dangerous, despite their individual personalities.” Tyrpak also commented that, “the experiences, and sadly the abuse, of a particular animal will have a much greater effect on how it behaves.”
            It can be seen through history that these dogs act dangerously because their owners are often “abusive and encouraging of aggressive behavior,” according to The law has done what they thought was right to protect a majority of the population from being killed by such breeds, when in reality, the training of a dog and their own personal history has the biggest influence on how a dog behaves. According to the Human Society, any dog can be at risk to bite someone if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable with their surroundings. Often, dog bites are caused by a person not knowing how to react to a dog in an instance when they may feel unsafe. In the case of a dangerous dog breed in a shelter, if they have felt unsafe in the past, they may feel as if any human will hurt them in the way their previous owner did.
           Even though dangerous dogs have a past, and can be dangerous in some forms, there is no evidence to back up that these breeds are genetically more dangerous than another breed, according to the Humane Society. 

How To Hack the Caf - The Vision Online

Assistant Editor, Hunter Merck

College students are known for hating cafeteria food, no matter where they go or how good it may actually be. There are a few things you can do while in there to enhance your college dining experience. 

  1. Waffle batter cups are useful for everything.
    By the waffle maker, there is the batter dispenser with cups on top. While they’re good for transporting batter to the maker, they can also be used for small portions of ice cream, cereal, goldfish, crutons, or just about anything to go. It gives you a snack sized portion of anything and makes it easy to walk out the door.
  2. The salad bowls are bigger than the cereal bowls. 
    While this may seem obvious, they are never stacked right next to each other. The cereal bowls are nice for a small portion of cereal, but if you want a heaping bowl, or you just don’t want to worry about the cereal falling out of the bowl as you walk to your table, then opt for the salad bowls.
  3. Take small parts of food from different stations to customize your meal.
    On occasion, the comfort food station has shredded chicken to go with something else. If you don’t like what they’re pairing it with, it works really well in a salad, or with ranch dressing mixed in.
  4. There is a microwave.
    This also seems like an obvious one, but many people don’t know it’s there. It’s located on the bar at the front of the caf on the other side of the coffee makers. It makes it easier to customize your food. Want some cheese fries? Throw them in the microwave.
  5. You can make more than just sandwiches in the sandwich press. 
    At the salad and sandwich bar, there is a sandwich press. Use a tortilla shell and some shredded cheese to make a quesadilla. The grill also has grilled cheese from time to time, but you can make your own any time in the sandwich press.
  6. Put ice cream in your coffee.
    Sometimes, they might be out of creamer, or maybe you don’t like that flavor. You can make your own version of a frosted coffee from Chick-fil-a by just scooping some ice cream into your coffee to have a sweet drink and still all the caffeine you need to make it through the day.

A Day in the Life of a Maintenance Request - Writing Sample 2

            A dorm has an issue. There is water leaking from somewhere, the air conditioning isn’t working, the heat won’t turn off, the drain is clogged, there are bugs or spiders everywhere, someone’s refrigerator is not working, a light bulb is burnt out. The list goes on and on. Someone has to fix all of these problems. This is where the maintenance staff at North Greenville comes in. Most students never see the behind the scenes work that goes into maintaining and fixing any problems the dorms have. The maintenance requests are rather short lived before they are taken care of.
             A request is sent from a faculty or staff member, or a resident student lets his or her resident assistant know that they have a problem. Students are not supposed to send in a request on their own, although there are some students with emergencies that call the office. Not many people come to the office in person with a request. To put in a request, the maintenance department prefers to have the requester put it in through their online work order form rather than a phone call, unless it is an emergency after hours during the week, according to maintenance secretary, Kelly King.
            After a request is made, it works its way to the office manager. Each member of the maintenance staff is specialized in a specific craft. The office manager will assign each task to a technician who works specifically on what they are being asked to do. Work orders are not prioritized unless they are an emergency. If it is a basic problem, they just take care of them in chronological order. The emergencies are also assigned, but the technician with the job will be alerted on their radio as well so they can take care of it as soon as possible.
           According to King, after a task is given to a technician, each job is taken care of within the week, with exceptions. Eighty-five percent of their jobs are completed in a week, according to King, as she looked at her computer in the maintenance department. “Most of our staff does a really good job at getting it done in 24 hours,” says King. The more basic and common requests from dorms include the toilet being stopped up, having a light bulb that’s burned out, and air conditioning having problems. Sometimes there is a simple fix that a resident could have overlooked when trying to see what the problem is, and other times it’s more complicated and requires an air conditioning window unit or hot water heater to be replaced entirely. Other places around campus that have the most problems are the dining hall areas. The conveyer belt often has issues and the coolers sometimes need some work. The most common of all the requests, however, is the air conditioning systems are not working properly. They also have a lot of issues with lost keys and the doors not opening. King also stated that despite the fact that some dorms are significantly older than others, the need for maintenance is pretty even across the board.
           There have also been some pretty bizarre requests made to the maintenance department. Men’s housing coordinator, Dillon Key says, “One of my coordinators put in a request for a funeral for a mouse they found in a house.” While maintenance did come get rid of the mouse, they did not hold a funeral. Despite being weird and unusual requests, the maintenance department will still find a way to make sure the problem is taken care of. Billy Watson, Assistant Vice President of Student Life, says, “There were approximately five hundred lady bugs on [someone’s] ceiling and we had to go over there with a vacuum and get them all up.” He also mentioned that someone put in a normal request that their toilet was clogged up. When they went to fix it, they realized that a tennis ball had bounced into the toilet and someone had flushed it, causing the clog. That could have been a somewhat normal request and was an easy fix, but it was definitely something that could have been prevented.
            Improvements have been made by the school in an effort to make sending a request easier and more efficient. “The biggest thing we have done this year was helping with freshman move in. There were a lot of positive responses and it’s been one of our biggest improvements,” says King. Another improvement they have been working on is work cards. After the job is completed, they try to leave a card with contact information, a description of what was done, what the specific request was, and how to follow up if there is anything that needs to be done later. They are working to make sure that all of the problems on campus are taking care as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

What's Up with NGU's WiFi? - Writing Sample 1

It’s Sunday night. You finally sit down to do your homework. You open your laptop and then the Wi-Fi decides it’s going to take its precious time. You have an entire weekend’s worth of homework to do, and you just do not have time for the internet to be slow. At North Greenville University, the wireless internet sometimes has a mind of its own, and people often ask questions as to why it acts the way it does.
           At NGU, according to the Information Technology (IT) Department, there are about 430 access points to the wireless internet on campus. Wireless internet, or Wi-Fi, is a shared service. When only one device is connected to a certain access point, that device gets all of the signal. When a second device connects, the signal is split between the two. For every other device that connects to the same access point, it must evenly split the signal between every device. This means that for every access point, the more devices connected, the less signal each device gets, which in turn makes it a slower connection for everyone involved. According to Charlie Garcia, IT Network Services Manager, during a typical week, there are approximately 2,600 people connected to “Crusader Connect.”  This high hits at about 2p.m. during the weekdays because that is when staff members and commuter students are on campus in addition to the resident students. During chapel services on campus, the number of devices connected hits its lowest because there are little to no access points in the chapel building. The number is also typically lower during the weekends and at night, according to IT.
            On campus, students often experience problems with their connection. The biggest problem would be devices disconnecting at random times. “Usually it’s because someone turned on something else that messes with the interference. A car with Wi-Fi in it that drives up near a building could cause it, or someone is using a hotspot,” says Garcia while sitting at his computer in the Administration building. He looks at all the data and can see exactly how many devices are connected to each access point and where any interference from outside of “Crusader Connect” could be coming from and then puts a stop to it. When a device randomly becomes disconnected, it is usually connected again within a few seconds because, according to Garcia, “The way the signal works, it kicks the other device off the feed and the signal comes back to whatever device [someone] was using.”
               “I once went to [a house on campus] and they were having issues in one room. They had all the micro-fridges lined up along one wall which was blocking the signal,” says Garcia. Something that students do not tend to take into consideration when they are having issues is microwaves. When someone uses a microwave in their dorm, it puts off radiation that could cause interference. The material of the architecture is one last reason a connection could be messing up. As a whole, people tend to think that concrete blocks signal the most, but it’s actually wood. Since the walls are mostly made of wood, that could potentially be blocking the signal in some places.
            Upload and download speed is another topic about North Greenville’s internet service that makes students curious. The upload speed on campus can be considered fast, especially when compared to a residential network. “Upload speed does not use as much [bandwidth]. Not as many people are uploading here. The network here is a lot bigger [than a residential network],” explains Garcia. Bandwidth can be defined by Google as “the range of frequencies within a given band, used for transmitting signal.” This means that it can accommodate for more devices and still run at a reasonable speed. According to the Director of Network and Desktop Services, Tim Patterson, homes usually have an asymmetrical network, because that is how companies sell them. This means that download speed is sold much bigger and faster than upload speed because most people do not need to upload things in their homes. However, in businesses and at universities, wireless networks are sold as symmetrical networks which means that upload and download speeds are typically the same speed. Since more people are using download to browse the internet, stream music and videos and download files, the speed is going to be slower. Still less people are going to be uploading. Since there is less data going through the “stream” it can move a lot faster and make it easier and faster to upload anything to the internet.
            One way to speed up or improve the quality of internet service on campus is to stream videos through a hard wired connection. The service through a hard wired connection is not shared and the amount of data transferred is only through one device so it does not have to split itself up in order to accommodate multiple devices. It is not recommended for students to have their own routers or use hotspots because it can mess up the signal for other people.
           While the internet sometimes has issues, any large network will sometimes experience glitches because technology is not perfect.