Busted Halo
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Laura Stephens :
11 article(s)

Laura Stephens is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and is studying to become a physician assistant at DeSales University. She thinks God, her family, her friends, Catholic Social Teaching, writing, movies, cooking, and doing yoga are pretty awesome.
August 10th, 2015

People always say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think words are pretty valuable too. And so does Brandon Stanton, the creator of the social media phenomenon “Humans of New York.” Brandon takes photographs of people he encounters on the streets, depicting them in the manner they desire, and provides a platform for them to tell their stories. Although it sounds simple enough, anyone who looks at a HONY post can tell immediately that there is something special about his approach.
Brandon’s story itself is pretty cool. He started off trading bonds in Chicago, a lucrative career that many post-grads would love to have. But things didn’t turn out well for Brandon, and he…

July 16th, 2015

This spring, I took a class called “Adventure Games” at college. Just getting into the class was a long shot. As one of the most popular courses at William and Mary, securing a spot meant crossing your fingers and hoping the class registration gods would smile upon you. Somehow, I lucked out! “Adventure Games” took me out of my comfort zone in nearly every way. The course provided some super cool experiences and several valuable lessons:

Teamwork Is the Real Deal
To begin the semester, we did a lot of trust-building activities. One was a typical “trust fall.” It was difficult to just let go, but in this course (as well as in life sometimes) that ability is really important. And even though I was the only one…

June 4th, 2015

The summer movie season is upon us! Here’s a guide to help you sift through your options when you head to the theater.
#1 When you’re feeling adventurous: “Jurassic World”

The Jurassic Park franchise is back. A 90s hallmark, it brought with it action, adventure, and a whole generation of traumatized kids. Just kidding … kind of. This time the dream has been realized, and scientists have succeeded in creating a dinosaur theme park. When a career-on-fire Chris Pratt realizes that a genetically modified dinosaur has escaped its cage, hold on to your butts. Go for the excitement, special effects, and Chris Pratt. In theaters June 12.…

#2 When you want to feel all the feels: “Me and Earl and the

May 6th, 2015

I’m graduating from college in a few weeks. The past four years might have seemed slow when they were passing, but now, cliché as it sounds, it feels like no time has passed at all. I got decent grades, and assuming everything goes as planned, I should be going to grad school in the fall.
At this point, I’m just trying to fit in as much as I can. The closer graduation day gets, the more urgency I feel. Time is running out. A part of my life is ending. I won’t see the same people anymore; I won’t be in the same place. Everything will be different.
As I’ve tried to make my last few weeks at college meaningful, different impulses have fought within me. Of course, I need to spend time on homework, even…

February 4th, 2015
Offering warmth to those who need it the most during the winter months

Last winter was one of the coldest on record. Phrases like “Arctic blast” and “polar vortex” were common in everyday conversation, and it seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere to escape the frigid temperatures. The cold became so much a part of daily life, I don’t think it was a coincidence that Frozen mania took hold; and we still haven’t let it go. With the way things are going, this winter will continue the bitter cold.
While for many the cold is merely an inconvenience, for the homeless it is something worse. I’m such a wimp when it comes to cold; I can’t imagine what it must be like to brave subzero temperatures at night. Physically, the bitter cold can cause…

August 28th, 2014
Organizations put solidarity into action at the U.S.-Mexico border

The U.S.-Mexico border has always been a hub for immigration and a point of political contention. Most recently, an explosion in the number of children fleeing violence in Central America and crossing into the United States has sparked more debate. While politicians, advocates and policy analysts continue to address the root causes of migration, there are humanitarian and relief organizations — many of them with religious roots — that are focused on meeting the needs of migrants at the border. This is just a short list of the many groups that work tirelessly to show compassion, listen to migrants’ stories, and help meet their immediate needs. All of these organizations encourage volunteers,…

July 23rd, 2014

Last summer, I spent a month interning as a medical translator for migrant farmworkers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It wasn’t the typical summer vacation, and there were some challenging moments. I don’t have any illusions that I changed the world or made a big impact, but I learned a lot about what it means to be human.
As a bit of historical background, during World War II, the United States established the Bracero Program, which brought Mexican farmworkers to replace the U.S. farmers who had gone to war. This system of importing labor from nearby countries evolved and became institutionalized; farms came to depend on it. However, with stricter regulations on immigration and growing nationalist…

July 9th, 2014

This is a hard article for me to write. It’s about one of the worst things I’ve ever done, or not done, actually. In advance, I want to tell the mother in the story that I’m sorry for being too scared. I’m sorry for being too selfish. I’m sorry for who you lost.
When I was in high school, often I was afraid to rock the boat. I didn’t want to make waves or make anyone mad. So when I heard a girl in one of my classes quietly saying that she was pregnant, I was caught. I knew what I should do, but that didn’t make it appealing.
I am pro-life, in theory at least. But like many people, when I have to sacrifice for my convictions, often I turn away. I was unsure what to say because I hadn’t…

January 21st, 2014

I’ve always loved superheroes. Mostly because my dad would read old Marvel comics to my brothers and me. (We converted my mom to comic nerd-dom later on.) Then when I got older, the deluge of superhero movies began. In fact, my first Hollywood crush was Tobey Maguire from the original Spiderman movies. These movies were special to me and not just because of how dreamy I thought Spidey was. I admired Spiderman because he was so inherently good.
Out of all the superheroes, Spiderman probably has one of the worst lives. Yet, 90% of the time, he acts selflessly, always looking out for those who need his help. He even faces giving up the one he loves most (for her own safety) with courage. To me, that’s the essence…

December 12th, 2013
Remembering the hungry during seasons of plenty

It’s difficult to write about hunger. First, hunger isn’t a pleasant topic. It challenges us to ask hard questions about how we meet everyone’s basic human needs. Second, I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said. I could talk about the obscene number of children who go to bed hungry each night. I could talk about the proposed cuts to SNAP benefits (aka food stamps). I could talk about food deserts and lack of access to nutritious foods. I could talk about how healthy food is more expensive than junk food, and many who can’t afford it face health problems like obesity and diabetes. I could talk about how people with disabilities and people who are elderly have disproportionately…

November 6th, 2013

Les Miserables punched me in the gut. It showed the depths of desperation and the most crass and compassionate responses of the human heart. It had the good, messy, lovely and hopeless parts of people wrapped into one cohesive and fragmented whole, and I saw myself and my life reflected there — without any pretty filter. It wasn’t something easy to forget.
Making assumptions
When I saw Les Miserables, I had recently had an encounter with a homeless man that showed me who I really was, and how far I was from who I hoped to be. I had finished a day of shadowing at a hospital, and was waiting to be picked up. A gentleman approached me in the lobby, and began to ask questions. He wasn’t entirely coherent, but…

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