Author Archives: John Dills

Don’t Listen to Future, Mask On.

Do you remember wondering what the next year held for you back in December of 2019? I do. I was searching for happiness, and not just a broad definition of happiness, but happiness within myself. I was going through a rough time during the holiday season, especially around New Years. I wish I had enjoyed the holiday season then because more than likely, we won’t get to enjoy it this year.

According to IHME, more than 900 thousand lives have been taken by COVID-19. I know people who have been personally affected by the coronavirus during the pandemic. I know of people who have passed away from complications due to the virus. I know people who have contracted the virus and been bedridden. This virus effects those with underlying health conditions and the elderly the most. When I go into public, I always hope that I do not see one person without a mask. I cannot express this enough, but the pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it.

As time goes on, I notice more and more people are turning into “anti-maskers.” I’ve not been able to wrap my mind around how someone can care so little about other people. How is the President of The United States not wearing a mask and telling other people who follow him to wear a mask? There are so many ways for us to stop the spread of COVID-19, but yet anti-maskers, including our president, don’t use them because it slightly inconveniences them. It has been said by the CDC that masks reduce the spread of COVID-19 by not allowing particles expelled by breathing, sneezing and coughing into the air as easily to help protect those around you.

Right now, a really popular advertisement is “Why do you wear a mask,” and this really put my mind to work. I’m not at high risk if I contract coronavirus. I don’t have any underlying health conditions, and I’m pretty young. I could not wear a mask, possibly contract COVID-19, and in the long run my health would be fine. So, why would I wear a mask? I work in the public, as well as go to a college with many other students. I could spread the virus easily with being in constant contact with people. I don’t wear a mask to protect myself, I wear my mask to protect other people who are at high risk during the pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic is not something to be taken lightly. Wearing a mask can save someone’s life other than your own. Social distance, wash your hands, wear a mask, and most importantly have enough respect for others to try to keep them safe.

Hollis Meyer’s Take on Homosexuality in Religion

Religion and homosexuality have often been at odds. Hollis Meyer, a junior at Piedmont, explored this relationship examining religious teachings in his senior capstone paper, Homosexuality in the Bible and Qu’ran.

“As a gay person and a person of faith, and having grown up in the Deep South, I’ve had many of the texts I study in the paper thrown at me to denigrate my identity. Using my education to reckon with these topics is the best way I know how, and it allows me to funnel my passion into my work.”

Meyer presented his paper at the 2020 Piedmont Symposium, held entirely online on April 15 due to COVID-19. This was a change Meyer had to adjust to.

 “It was a novel situation. I had originally prepared to use the Symposium as my presentation time for my philosophy & religion capstone, but I had to change my plans a bit. I provided a .docx for Zoom participants and find a good place to sit that didn’t have clutter but had good connection to the internet.”

In examining homosexuality in the Bible, Meyer found that homosexuality was possibly not what The Bible was referencing, that it was referencing “Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, [and] robbers.”

The Qu’ran, which is an extension of the Old Testament for those of Muslim faith, has similar writings about homosexuality.

Meyer in his research paper said “There is no reason to believe that homosexuality in the time of Paul or for centuries thereafter [was present].”

Dr. Tim Lytle, Meyer’s academic advisor for his presentation, said that under the conditions, Meyer presented good research. “Ordinarily, I would spend a good bit of time in the latter half of the semester working one-on-one with students,” he said, adding that he was unable to that in the same capacity due to the shelter-in-place order.

Although COVID-19 didn’t allow students to meet in person, that did not discourage students from attending. Meyer’s session was packed with more 40 attendees, and he had to take into account for distractions from other students in the Zoom call, and distractions in his home. “Before the pandemic, I was going to print out a few handouts, and present for about 10 minutes and field questions,” he said. “I had to account for ambient noise from participants who hadn’t muted their microphones and the four children I live with. Not to mention our two dogs.”

Hi, My Names John and My Life is Kinda Crazy.

Yes, I really did reference a TikTok in my title, and yes as the title says, my name is John. I’m 20 years old, I’m a junior in college, and I’m a Mass Communications major. Let’s start at the beginning, but I don’t remember the very beginning so this is what my mom tells me.

I was born on September 17th in Habersham Medical Center, so just right down the road from my college. Who knew that I would be born in the town that I would later move to? Not me. I have 3 siblings; two sisters and a brother. Growing up I was the youngest… by 10 years. Yes, before you ask, I was an accident. My mom was a nurse, and my dad owns his own company. I know that it sounds like I would be rich, but since my dads company isn’t doing too hot, I’m broke.

My freshman year of high school I thought for sure that I would go to college to study music. That’s what everyone in my family thought too. My parents had raised me around music, and had put in me into piano lessons from a young age. I never did quite pick up piano, and although I love the way it sounds, playing it just didn’t really work for me. Late in elementary school and early in middle school I joined the school band and played saxophone. I practiced almost daily, spent most of my free time learning scales, I practiced harder pieces of music, and eventually practiced to the point where I started to hate the instrument. My junior year of high school I went through the most life altering experience I had ever had. I dropped all of my previous friends, quit the band, and started being who I wanted to be instead of this person that I had assumed my family wanted me to be. When I realized that no one was holding me to such a standard except myself, I found my biggest passion to this day and that’s journalism. While I was a kid I had asked my parents for a small camcorder for Christmas one year. When I got it, I started filming everything. I would film anything from walking around my room at home, to me acting out skits that I wrote, to me playing with my dog. This is where my love of journalism really grabbed its roots.

Let’s get back to high school. I had been in a video class my first two years of high school in order to complete what my school called a pathway. I hosted the schools’ news show for the first two years and to me it wasn’t something I put any effort into, it all just came naturally at that point. My junior year after quitting band I was beginning to wonder what I would really want to do with my life. I started focusing so hard on my scripts for the news show at my school. I would spend hours a night just trying to edit the script to make it into my idea of what I thought was something to be proud of. Looking back at those videos now– they’re terrible. Looking back at my passion during that time– unmatched. I grew to love everything from making our news show to creating commercials as well as short films. Towards the end of the year my friend Haley and I decided we wanted to compete in Broadcast Video Production through SkillsUSA. We made our feature story, edited it with our team, and sent it in. A few months later we found out that we had won 2nd in our region. Fast forward to the end of the semester we went to compete for the title of state champions. We competed, and sadly we lost to North Cobb High School. I found out my senior year of high school that the only reason we lost to North Cobb was because our bus was late picking us up the day before competition and they had deducted us the exact amount of points needed to win first place.

I say all of that because all of that emotional rollercoaster you just experienced has led me to here. I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college, I thought I wanted to go to Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, GA, or maybe the University of Georgia. I couldn’t decided where to go. One day I went to my friend Autumn’s house. We had been planning to hangout and it was early fall so we went hiking and then back to her house so that she could change into warmer clothes before we went to eat because the temperature had dropped drastically. She invited her mom to come eat with us, and I didn’t know it at the time but her inviting her mom would change the next few years of my life. We ate dinner, and her mom, a Piedmont College alumni, asked me where I was wanting to go to school and I talked about how I was deciding between UGA and GCSU. She didn’t hesitate in asking and said “Have you considered Piedmont?” and instantly I said no. I did not want to go to college where I would still be so close to home, or go to school with a lot of the same people I had went to high school with. She convinced me to take a tour of Piedmont with her. She took me to meet the President of Piedmont College, he played the organ for us, and he told us about how the Mass Communications Department was growing and about different types of scholarships offered. I didn’t decide on a college for sure until January 1st of 2019. I moved into my dorm at Piedmont College on January 7th that same week.

My life so far has been something completely decided by making up my mind the last second like quitting the school band my junior year, and deciding on a school right before I had to move in. If this story shows anything, it shows to not let anyone tell you what will make you happy, you decide for yourself what will make you happy, and you roll with it. Don’t join band because you think your family will be upset if you don’t. Don’t go to any college until you know for sure where you want to be. Don’t waste your money, and don’t waste your efforts on something you don’t care about. That’s my life until now, and I hope you enjoyed reading about how I constantly change my mind.