Women’s self-defense class a rank above the rest

It was Thursday. It was dark. I was Uptown, walking alone past a brooding Brick Street and suspicious cars tucked in alleyways. Walking alone at night reminds me of horror stories from family and friends, sexual assault notifications and the statistics that aren’t in my favor. This is what drives the demand behind the women’s self-defense classes run by Tier 2 Defense. Tier 2 CEO Chris Cravens has eight years of experience in the U.S. Marine Corps Infantry, followed by work for a protective agency. Cravens also protected for a time on behalf of the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS. The Tier 2 self defense syllabus for both law enforcement classes and women’s self-defense classes on college campuses is based on his experience. I was on my way to Tier 2’s first-ever lesson at the Oxford Community Arts Center. The lesson ran from 7-9 p.m. (Another class marketed to Miami students is coming up on Nov. 30). Despite spending the better part of the past year attending krav maga classes and learning tae kwon do, judo and hapkido with Miami’s Red Dragons martial arts club, I was about to find out I had been too tense to be able to effectively defend myself on my walk home in the dark. While women’s self defense classes are often free of charge, they are nowhere near as intensive as...

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First years’ first days: The freshman ‘shock’ experience

The first semester away at college is tough. Whether your parents washed your dirty laundry your whole life or you were the most self-sufficient, I-know-my-social-security-number-and-how-to-use-jumper-cables kid in your high school class, there’s some adjusting to do after arriving in Oxford. Among the things our first-year writers found out: A box full of bright-pink tools isn’t the worst way to make friends. It can hurt to watch your parents drive away. No, Brick is not a movie theater. Store-bought tortillas do not taste as good as your grandmother’s. It’s easy to feel lonely on campus — but there are always...

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Missing home and hot tortillas

“No, I should wait to visit. I’ve only been at school for a few days,” I say over the phone. My family only lives two hours away, but it’s my first weekend away at Miami and they already want me to come visit. I love my family, but maybe I should have chosen an out-of-state school. That said, I start calling Miami m y home the day I move in. I love my new friends, I love the campus and I love being disappointed every time I see Brick Street’s entrance and think it’s a movie theater. I can’t wrap my head around being homesick in such a place because I’m ready to live such a life, just like that moving (and propaganda-tinged) poem said I would. I’m not ready for the feeling when it hits. I’m fighting procrastination in my dorm alone, when my stomach outright scoffs at my growing to-do list. I open my fridge for the Mission brand tortillas graciously given to freshman students without anything to put inside, and can’t push away the memory of my grandma’s homemade tortillas. Mission tortillas taste fine when microwaved, but they don’t taste like home. I spit out the limp bite of flour, remembering how hot a fresh tortilla is when you snatch it off the pan with just your fingers. Homemade tortillas taste good even when you don’t...

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