Competition: Does anyone really win?

By: Lauren Kraudy

An email notification pops up on the computer. The decision has been made. It’s been four years of AP classes, club meetings, choir concerts, not to mention early morning seminary. You’ve spent hours recalling your past trying to come up with stories that make you stand out from the tens of thousands of other applicants. You question if your mediocre ACT score made the cut. Finally mustering up the courage, you open the decision notification.

Although relieved after the acceptance notification, the competition is far from over at a school like Brigham Young University. Little does one realize that competition will impact every single part of a college student’s life from here on out whether that be in an academic setting, spiritual aspect, or dating perspective. But we must ask ourselves, is this constant load of competition a necessity to push us to becoming our best selves or an unhealthy motive holding students back from reaching their full potential?

First, competition must be defined. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines competition as, “the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms.” Therefore as a competitor, a person must be comparing themselves to whatever they are competing against in order to achieve their goal.

When asking students on BYU campus about competition and how it affects them, the first thing most students brought up was the academic side of competition. Every single day of a BYU student is spent in constant competition to get the best score on the paper, have the best grade in the class, and ultimately be the most compatible candidate for the dream career. When asking Rachel Wheeler, BYU sophomore and Communications Studies major, about how competition affected her success at BYU, she explained,

“[Competition] can be negative because it can detract from other things. When I compete against other people, I never feel good enough.” Wheeler went on to explain that she found healthy competition by competing against herself, working to always improve her own grades. Through doing this, she found improvement and a happier self.

BYU students also feel the pressure of competition in their dating lives. Wheeler described this type of competition as the “dating pool hierarchy.” Dating is a competition in and of itself. The whole idea of dating is comparing different eligible mates to decide which is the best fit for you. Dating also includes the comparison of yourself to others in order to compete and ultimately “win” the preferred option.

Annie Rushton, sophomore and elementary education major at BYU, explained that she does not believe competition is unhealthy in dating.

“Competition in dating is good because you do not want to settle, you want the best, so comparison is not only good but it is necessary.” Rushton said. Although one does need to be careful that they do not tear their own self esteem when comparing themselves to others.

Attending a private religious institution can also make spirituality a competition. Students at BYU shared that at times they felt they had to keep up a “spiritual appearance” or in other words put on a show that they were always dedicated to church whether that be through sabbath day observance, doing well in religion classes, or just participating in Sunday school. They explained that sometimes they felt as though their religious obligations were fulfilled because of comparison to others and wanting to be just as “righteous” as other BYU students were. This form of religious competition is obviously unhealthy.

Freshman Natalie Larsen, a family and consumer science education major shared how she tried to use religious competition at BYU to better herself. She said that when she saw others doing really well spiritually, she used them for motivation to improve her own habits. For example, when Larsen learned a friend had been keeping up with President Nelson’s recent challenge to finish the Book of Mormon within the year, it inspired Larsen to catch up to her friend and get back on track.

“If you use competition correctly, you can progress and that is what life is about…[competition] helps you become more Christlike if you allow it to.” said Larsen.

Whether it be academic, dating, or spiritual, competition is always affecting students at BYU. Competition has its positives and negatives, although it is a personal matter on how one utilizes competition. Just as Garrett Kraudy, senior and finance major at BYU said, “If we weren’t driven by competition then what would motivate us? Humankind as a whole progresses from competition.”

21 Things for Under $21 When You’re Under 21 in Vegas

By: Lauren Kraudy

A fake city, completely built upon the imaginations of humans who are lonely and lusting. A city where you can be whomever you want: Mia & Seb, Wealthy Texas Tycoons looking to strike gold or Candice, a famous internet blogger searching for some real company. A city where the senses are at a constant overload; another show to see, another whiff of gourmet burgers over the cigarette smoke, another blinding billboard, another song from street performers pushing their way to fame. It’s these imaginations, senses and aspirations that makes Las Vegas more than a place to gamble and party.

Though the idea of fall break may be foreign to BYU students, there’s no stopping them from weekend road trips to escape the constant stress of midterms, papers and homework. Luckily, Las Vegas is a short six hour drive away. Many BYU students are hesitant to take on “Sin City,” unaware it offers options for wholesome fun. Deciding to put it to the test, a quick day trip to Vegas was required. Two factors, activities and budget, were taken into account in order to be within the range of any BYU student. The result was 21 things to do for anyone under 21 years of age (or who do not drink or gamble) for under $21.

College student without the budget to travel the world? Vegas is your place, just walk the strip. There’s the Eiffel Tower, Egyptian Pyramids, Statue of Liberty and even the Statue of David. Along with famous landmarks, different areas sprinkle the strip designed to look like different parts of the world such as The Grand Canal, where actual gondolo tours are offered. Can’t forget about Vegas’s own staples, such as the Bellagio Fountains and the iconic Las Vegas sign. Just with sightseeing, we’ve already completed 7/21 things on our list.

Any good vacation requires some shopping. Since the goal was to hit Vegas on a budget, window shopping became the only option, but that left room for some fun. Although unaffordable, Vegas offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to hit the most iconic name brand stores in the world. Our favorites being Prada’s $900 hawaiian dad shirt, Chanel’s simple handbags considerably priced in the thousands, Louis Vuitton’s handcrafted $1000+ sneakers, and anything Gucci.

Vegas includes about every restaurant and type of food to accommodate the foodie in you. If you have the money, trying unique restaurants can be a unique way to experience the Strip. Many celebrities own restaurants like Wahlburgers, Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and even Guy Fieri’s Kitchen and Bar. If you’re attempting to stay on the budget, it’s recommended to stick with classic cheap In n’ Out and take in the scents of the gourmet celebrity food.

Museums open a whole new area of discovery for those under 21. Vegas provides a multiplicity of museums, the food museums being the most well known. A favorite of the crowd was the M&M museum with short (and free!) 3D shows every thirty minutes or so. There’s the Coca Cola museum welcoming anyone to taste test Coke flavors and then guess the flavor. Hershey’s Chocolate World did not disappoint either, maybe just because the free chocolate samples, but what college student doesn’t love free food?

The final four things on the list force creativity. BYU student Tiffany Hall said she loved Vegas because it was “a constant overload of the senses, there’s always something to see, smell, and hear just walking on the streets.” Most Vegas free time includes walking the strip, taking it all in. Often, there are small games like gigantic Jenga that store owners allow passersby to play. People-watching games prove prime in Vegas because the city brings people of all backgrounds. Occasionally, exploring casinos enhance the experience, even for non-gamblers. One Casino in particular, the Bellagio, displays an indoor garden with impressive floral designs.

21 hours. $21. No gambling, partying, or drinking. To put it simply, UVU student Kyler Baumgartner said, “It’s not hard to find a good time in Vegas.”