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Today is National Unplugging Day—Here’s why you should join in

Photo credit: flickr.com

National Day of Unplugging, a holiday created to bring awareness to the hold that technology has on the everyday person, is next Friday, March 5. A holiday you may not have heard of, participants in this annual tradition bathe in a digital detox for 24 hours– no cell phones, no laptops…just mindfulness.

The holiday originates from a Jewish nonprofit called ‘Reboot,’ an organization that started in New York City but is rapidly growing in cities across the country. If you’re thinking, “I’m not Jewish,” don’t worry. The holiday is for everyone, regardless of religious affiliation.

In recent years, the event has had hundreds of thousands of participants nationwide, and it is looking to be a major hit again this year. According to the celebration’s website, it aims to help participants “start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child.”

Audrey Cleary, a University of Miami licensed clinical psychologist, spoke with The Miami Hurricane about why putting your phone down for a bit to focus on the world around you might not sound as bad as you think.

“Mindfulness can be as simple as becoming aware of what is around you– experiencing the sounds, sensations and your senses as a whole,” she explained. “You can deliberately become mindful in the moment with effort, but in general, focusing on one thing helps. Also, focus on gratitude and appreciation. Take time to focus on what you’re appreciative for. It can improve your happiness and overall well being.”

Cleary also spoke about the negative side effects of cell phone overuse, often seen in college students across the nation.

“Cell phone usage can be too much when it starts causing problems in your life. The distraction from academics it brings, and conflict in relationships. Not being present with the people around you can be a sign,” she said. “Social media can also bring on negative comparisons to other people. You don’t want to compare yourself to the negative, edited versions of someone else.”

According to Cleary, the benefits of unplugging can be monumental. Breaking the habit of always having to check your cell phone over and over again for notifications can be a positive experience. Yes, technology has provided many benefits into everyday life, but no one should want to feel locked down by their cell phone.

“It can be healthful to not have to focus on your cell phone and other technology. Kicking away that demand on your attention can help a person get reconnected with their natural environment. Getting aware of your emotional experiences can make the urge of your cell phone less powerful. Even just being present and aware of the negative emotions in your mind like sadness or anxiety can help you feel better about them since you know they are there.”

She continued to list the specific benefits of unplugging, saying that the awareness and physical contact with other people around you to be especially powerful. She says that when you are face to face with a person, your communication can often feel way more authentic. According to Cleary, an improved sleep schedule is another benefit worth mentioning.

Psychologists and researchers have begun identifying disorders that exist when individuals are unable to go lengths of time without their cell phone. One such disorder, known as ‘phone separation anxiety,’ is a struggle that many students deal with every day.

This disorder may sound funny or peculiar, but according to Cleary, it is not a joke. It is defined as “a sense of fear and panic when separated from a mobile phone and the overwhelming fear of anxiety coming from the inability to immediately respond to a notification or have your device in your hand.”

“If having immediate contact with your cell phone is something you’ve learned to depend on, it’s definitely real,” she explained. “If students are feeling anxious about not having their cell phone, it’s important to really think about why. Identify what the fear is, and challenge your fears associated with the phone.”

She listed several questions that students who think they may have this disorder might want to consider in order to try and cure their separation anxiety.

“What do you think you’re missing out on? Do you feel like you’ll really miss out on those things? Are the consequences really as bad as you think they are?”

Whatever the case is, she assured that phone separation anxiety does not have to be permanent. It can be overcome with a little cognitive work.

So, whether you unplug or plug in, make sure to think again about your technology habits. While 24 hours away from a cell phone may not immediately cure problems, everyone has to start somewhere.

Featured image from flickr.com.

Five-star offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa commits to Miami

The Hurricanes had another reason to celebrate on July 4, as UM landed their highest-ranked recruit since 2010 in five-star offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa. The 6-foot-5 prospect is the best offensive tackle and the ninth overall recruit in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Mauigoa’s commitment to UM in the 2023 class continues a hot streak on the recruiting trail for head coach Mario Cristobal and the rest of Miami’s staff. In recent weeks, UM has secured commitments from other top prospects, such as four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada and four-star tight end Riley Williams.

Mauigoa, who attends IMG (Fla.) Academy, is the highest-ranked recruit for Miami since offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, who was the No. 2 player in the country in his respective cycle.

Prior to Mauigoa’s commitment, UM’s 2023 class was ranked 14th in the country according to 247Sports, good for second in the ACC behind the Clemson Tigers.

Miami flips four-star cornerback Antione Jackson from the Bulldogs to the Hurricanes

In recent days and weeks, the Miami Hurricanes have been adding to their 2023 recruiting class, securing key commitments from four-star recruits such as quarterback Jaden Rashada and tight end Riley Williams.

Today, UM added to their 2024 recruiting class by flipping four-star cornerback Antione Jackson from the Georgia Bulldogs. Jackson committed to UGA in March 2022 but continued to signal that his recruitment was not completely closed.

Jackson posted a picture on Twitter of him attending the UM Spring Game on April 16th, and more recently, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native participated in the Miami Hurricanes’ Legends Camp in Coral Gables.

“Just them being right down the street from my house and what they are trying to build, what they are trying to bring together,” Jackson told All Hurricanes of Miami. “Then the love they show on top of that. That’s a plus.”

The 6-foot defensive back holds offers from other Power 5 powerhouses such as Alabama and Auburn. He is listed as the 83rd overall prospect and the 9th ranked safety in the country, according to 247Sports.

Miami lands tight end Riley Williams

The Hurricanes struck gold again in their 2023 recruiting class with the commitment of four-star tight end Riley Williams, the No. 2 tight end prospect in the nation, according to On3 Sports.

Miami head coach Mario Cristobal had recruited Williams when he was still the head coach at Oregon.

“One of the biggest reasons I picked Miami was because of the relationships I built and already had with the coaching staff and the way they made me feel like I was a part of the family,” Williams told 247sports. “I was just so familiar with Coach Cristobal and a few other coaches from them being a part of the Oregon staff previous to Miami.”

Williams stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 230 pounds. Even at his size, he showcases athleticism in his speed and agility after the catch. He also has a unique talent for catching passes that are heavily contested by the defender.

He showed this consistently in his junior year at Central Catholic (Ore.) High School, putting up a stat line of 889 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns on 36 catches. That makes an average of nearly 25 yards per catch and excludes the rushing opportunities he was presented with.

Williams becomes the third tight end to commit to UM in its 2023 recruiting class, joining consensus three-star recruits Reid Mikeska and Jackson Carver. Carver showed his excitement about Williams’s pledge by tweeting that the “Canes are rolling.”

Williams is going to play his senior season at IMG (Fla.) Academy, in the hope of developing his game even more before arriving at Coral Gables.

Four-star ATH Robert Stafford commits to Miami

The Miami Hurricanes added yet another recruit in the 2023 class on Thursday afternoon, as four-star ATH Robert Stafford announced his commitment to the Canes on a 247Sports YouTube livestream.

“It’s a real dynasty over there,” Stafford said on the livestream. “My play style, everything I do, [fits with] the Miami Hurricanes … I feel like coach [Mario] Cristobal is doing something special over there.”

Stafford is ranked as the 12th-best ATH in the country, according to 247Sports, and the 196th best overall player.

Though Stafford has experience on both sides of the field, he is expected to play cornerback for Miami, and his relationship with secondary coach Jahmile Addae heavily influenced his decision.

“Me and [Addae] just clicked,” Stafford said. “I just love coach Addae, everything about him.”

The Melbourne, Fla., native began his football career at his local high school, Eau Gallie, as a wide receiver, where he caught 12 passes for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2020. As a junior, Stafford started getting reps on defense and became a two-way player. This past season, he had 605 receiving yards and five touchdowns on offense while recording 17 tackles, five PBU and an interception on defense in nine games.

A multi-sport athlete who also excels in basketball and track, the 5-foot-11, 171-pound rising senior is one of the most athletic and versatile players out there, with a 4.50 second 40-yard dash and a 34-inch vertical jump.

He had 40+ offers and chose Miami over Arkansas, Kentucky, Oregon and Georgia.

Miami continues to bolster 2023 recruiting class, adds four-star wide receiver Nathaniel Joseph

The Miami Hurricanes made another splash on *insert date* as they secured the commitment of Miami native and four-star wide out Nathaniel Joseph.

Joseph, who decommitted from Clemson on June 14, is ranked as the 16th best receiver and the 105th overall recruit in the 2023 class by 247sports Composite.

The 5-foot-8 receiver was in Coral Gables for his official visit on June 24th. He has also made official visits to Louisville and Clemson.

“Everybody’s doing their job,” Joseph told 305 Sports ahead of his most recent visit to Miami. “[UM head coach Mario] Cristobal texts me all day, all the time. So does [UM offensive coordinator Josh] Gattis … Everybody does their part.”

Joseph attends Miami Edison (Fla.) High School and amassed 632 receiving yards and five touchdowns across nine games in his junior season.

Joseph is the second receiver to commit to UM in the 2023 class, joining four-star athlete Robby Washington. Three-star receiver Lamar Seymore recently decommitted from the Hurricanes.

Four-star QB Jaden Rashada commits to Miami

Four-star QB Jaden Rashada in a Miami Hurricanes uniform via his Instagram.

The Miami Hurricanes snagged their highest-rated quarterback in the 2023 class on Sunday afternoon, as four-star recruit Jaden Rashada announced his commitment to Miami live on CBS Sports HQ after an official visit to Coral Gables last week.

“Miami just felt like home when I went there the second time,” Rashada said on CBS. “Miami is California vibes, so I guess that’s what set it off a little bit. Coach Gattis [and] Coach Cristobal, those are two proven coaches that can show that they’re all about winning.”

Rashada joins three-star prospect Emory Williams, who committed to the Canes on Monday, as the only other signal-caller in the class.

The decision came as no surprise to anyone who follows Miami football. In the past few days, four “lead experts” made crystal ball predictions that Rashada would go to Miami on 247sports.com.

The Pittsburg, Ca. native is listed on 247sports.com as the fifth-ranked quarterback in the country and the 29th overall best player.

With a 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame, Rashada has excelled at the high school level, throwing for 2,220 yards and 27 passing touchdowns this past season at Pittsburg High School. Previously, he attended Liberty High School in Brentwood, Ca., as a freshman, before a brief stint at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. A multi-sport athlete, he also played baseball during high school.

According to scouts, Rashada has incredible arm strength and is mobile, with an ability to avoid the rush and extend plays, giving him time to go through his progressions and make the right throw.

Rashada chose Miami over Southeastern Conference powerhouses like Florida, Texas A&M and LSU, all colleges he visited earlier this month. He becomes the eighth Miami commit in a strong 2023 recruiting class for head coach Mario Cristobal.

Rashada already has high expectations.

“I want to go in there and win my teammates [over] as a player, get their respect,” he said. “After that, it’s just build a relationship and try to become a national championship team. It takes a quarterback to lead that, so that’s what I’m ready to go do.”

Hurricanes land commitment from 2023 three-star quarterback Emory Williams

The Miami Hurricanes continued to build their 2023 recruiting class on Monday as the Milton, Fla. native Emory Williams pledged his commitment to Miami, marking the third recruit to do so in UM’s 2023 recruiting class in the past week.

Williams, who is the first quarterback to commit to UM in the 2023 cycle, held offers from other Power 5 programs such as Indiana and Pittsburgh.

“The coaching staff seems like a lot of great people,” Williams told InsideTheU before his commitment. “There’s a lot of stability in this coaching staff with [Miami head coach Mario] Crisotbal being back. I feel like the fit would be good with the culture, the fans, and the hometown state. That means a lot to me. Plus, it’s Miami. They have a great fan base, great tradition and I would love to carry on the tradition and get Miami where they should be.”

The 6-foot-5 signal caller conducted a private workout several weeks ago with high-ranking members of the Miami coaching staff, including Cristobal and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.

The Hurricanes’ quarterback room consists of redshirt sophomore Tyler Van Dyke, redshirt freshman Jake Garcia and true freshman Jacurri Brown. Many media outlets project Van Dyke as a first round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

JUCO wide receiver Colbie Young commits to Miami

Miami brought in its second wide receiver transfer commit of the cycle on Sunday morning in the highly touted Colbie Young from Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College.

“The offense is so relatable to Lackawanna, so it’s something I can get down with the playbook and all that,” Young told InsideTheU ahead of his commitment. “The [offensive coordinator] being the receivers coach is honestly a big deal too. Those are a couple of the main reasons. [Miami head coach Mario] Cristobal is a great guy. It felt like family.”

Young is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound receiver that can immediately showcase his athleticism and ability to create space off the line of scrimmage. He also becomes the tallest receiver in the Canes’ wideout room.

“Just being that big guy receiver, taking the top off the defense, drawing double-teams,” Young said regarding what he excels at.

Young certainly proved himself on the JUCO level, having 24 receptions, 472 yards and nine touchdowns in his single season at Lackawanna. His longest reception went for 50 yards, while each reception averaged about 19 yards.

The rising sophomore received many offers, amongst them being from rival Florida State and ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) foes Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh.

A Binghamton, N.Y. native, Young played for the town’s high school, but never received FBS offers. He chose to play for Lackawanna rather than FCS programs (University of Albany and University of Maine), and the decision certainly paid off.

With three years of eligibility left, Young has the potential to contribute heavily over the next couple of years and provides redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Van Dyke a great downfield option for this upcoming season.

Tight end Reid Mikeska commits to Miami

Tight end Reid Mikeska committed to Miami on Sunday night, joining recently committed Jackson Carver as the two tight ends in UM’s 2023 recruiting class.

This commitment happens after the Cypress, Texas native made an official visit to Coral Gables on June 10.

“I’m going to continue the tradition of Tight End U,” Mikeska told the Sun Sentinel after his visit. “My plan is to be the next great one at Miami, if that’s where I choose.”

The rising junior has enjoyed an illustrious career at Bridgeland (Texas) High School, helping lead the Bears to an 11-3 record and an appearance in the Texas 6A D-II regional final in his sophomore season. Mikeska caught 24 passes for 229 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2021.

On3 Sports ranks Mikeska as the 550th best player and 29th best tight end in the 2023 cycle

Miami’s recruitment of Mikeska began just a few months ago, as the Hurricanes offered him on March 1.

An April 13 commitment by Mikeska to Clemson seemed to close the door on his recruitment, but the three-star prospect decommitted from the Tigers less than a month later. This gave other schools the opportunity to make a push for the talented tight end.

UM head coach Mario Cristobal and his staff acted swiftly when this happened, booking an unofficial visit for Mikeska on May 21. The 2023 recruit’s official visit to Miami in June solidified this relationship between him and UM’s coaching staff.

Mikeska chose Miami over offers from Oklahoma, Florida and others.

Three-star tight end Jackson Carver commits to Miami

A graphic newly committed tight end Jackson Carver posted on his Twitter on May 24 ahead of his official visit to Miami.

The Miami Hurricanes football program picked up their sixth recruit in the Class of 2023 on Tuesday afternoon. After an official visit this weekend, three-star tight end Jackson Carver wasted no time in committing to “the U.”

In a Twitter post this afternoon, Carver shared a video of himself in a Hurricanes’ jersey with the caption, “Just getting started… #committed.”

“It was a lot of fun. I got around the tight ends a lot more,” Jackson said of his official visit to Coral Gables in a 247sports.com article. “[Will] Mallory, [Dominic Mammarelli], Elijah [Arroyo]. Just seeing how I fit in with the boys and it was just a great experience. They’re great guys. I could see myself surrounding myself with people like them in college. It was great to get back to see that.”

The multi-sport athlete from Minnesota is originally a hockey player and a three-star lacrosse defenseman, as listed on insidelacrosse.com, who had verbally agreed to play lacrosse at Notre Dame. Carver discovered football as a senior in high school, but his athletic prowess and 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame helped him quickly excel. Carver reclassified to the Class of 2023, transferring to the Loomis Chaffe School in Windsor, Connecticut, from Culver Academy in Indiana. He is now the number 28 tight end in the nation, according to 247sports.com’s rankings, which also list him as a three-star recruit.

Carver has 30+ offers and chose Miami over Auburn, Iowa and LSU.

Fabian Carrera raises disability awareness, pays tribute to Ecuador through music

Fabian Carrera, 52, is on a mission to raise disability awareness and pay tribute to his Ecuadorian heritage through his art: guitar performance. Photo credit: Contributed photo
Fabian Carrera, 52, is on a mission to raise disability awareness and pay tribute to his Ecuadorian heritage through his art: guitar performance.
Fabian Carrera, 52, is on a mission to raise disability awareness and pay tribute to his Ecuadorian heritage through his art: guitar performance. Photo credit: Contributed photo

At an intimate performance in the Clarke Recital Hall, Frost School of Music graduate Fabian Carrera entranced his audience with a dextrous classical guitar performance that invoked the indigenous music of his home country, Ecuador.

On April 2 —during his performance that marked the end of National Disability Awareness Month — Carrera, 52, completed the first phase of his Doctor of Music Arts (DMA) degree, which consists of three recitals held over three years. While his skillful performance would be a triumph for any musician, Carrera’s recital is particularly significant as it marks yet another victory over the difficult odds dealt to him during childhood.

As a child, Carrera contracted polio and was paralyzed from the neck down. Carrera was released from an iron lung at 5 years old.

With help from doctors, physical therapists, and family, he regained the usage of his upper body. With the regained use of his arms, Carrera picked up what would become his life long passion: the guitar.

In a press release published before the April 2 recital, Carrera credits his father Ulpiano for his interest in guitar, detailing how his father purchased his first instrument and encouraged him to pursue music lessons. As Carrera honed his art, he was presented with increasingly prestigious opportunities and accolades, including a guest spot in the National Symphonic Orchestra of Ecuador in 1996 and a formal recognition by the Ecuadorian government for artistic merit in March 2020.

Despite his achievements in his home country, Carrera made the decision to move to the United States as an adult to pursue opportunities that were not available to him in Ecuador. Many of these limitations are the result of a negative cultural perception of disabled individuals in Ecuador.

“People that are disabled, they’re generally hidden away,” said Carrera’s wife, Deb. “They’re encouraged to live with their parents in a room, they’re not to be seen.”

In the United States, Carrera continued to study music. Carrera earned a masters’ degree in classical guitar from the Frost school in 2021 after studying under guitar program director Rafael Padron. Before enrolling in Frost, he also studied social work at Miami-Dade College. After finishing his masters’ degree, Carrera immediately began work on his doctoral degree, preparing for his first of three recitals in early April.

Despite his many accomplishments, Carrera said that his talents would not be valued the same in Ecuador that they are here because of his disability.

“Coming from Ecuador, there is a lot of discrimination,” Carrera said. “They think it’s going to be a hassle hiring a person with a disability and they disregard all of his qualifications, his diplomas, his degrees.”

Fabian Carrera poses with his guitar.
Fabian Carrera poses with his guitar. Photo credit: Contributed photo

Of the many performances that Carrera has finished over the course of his career, he notes his most recent doctoral recital as a personal milestone and a display of an invaluable piece of the Ecuadorian musical canon.

At the recital, Carrera performed three pieces composed by Carlos Bonilla-Chavez, an award-winning Ecuadorian composer and Carrera’s former guitar teacher during his adolescence, who he considers to be the “father of Ecuadorian classical guitar.” The three songs —“Raíces” accompanied by pianist Dora Galit Chen, “Preludio y Yumbo” and “Zapateado Ecuatoriano”— showcased Carrera’s talents and left his audience in awe.

Carrera was particularly passionate about performing “Raíces,” a guitar concerto.

“Besides the sentimental value, it is the first nationalistic concerto for guitar ever written in Ecuador,” Carrera said.

The piece’s transitions through three movements, each of which is symbolic of the country’s diverse and syncretic culture. The first movement is an Allegro based on the music of the indigenous Otavo people who reside in the Andes mountains, as well as the country’s diverse “cultura mestiza.”

The second movement is a traditional Pasillo, or waltz, set to a slower Adagio tempo. The somber tone represents the plight of the indigenous people at the hands of colonizers. The third movement is inspired by the traditional Yumbo war dance and features a faster Presto tempo, but is meant to inspire unity between the indigenous and mestizo people.

Carrera said that he hopes his music will shed light on the beauty and vibrancy of Ecuadorian life that is often overshadowed in the mainstream media. Carrera’s wife said that this positive approach is also his philosophy regarding his disability.

“My husband wants to emphasize that he is not a victim, and that even though he is in a wheelchair, life goes on,” Deb said.

Carrera also credits much of his personal, musical and academic accomplishment to his Christian faith.

“The thing that makes me proud is my faith in God, and all the strength that he gives me to achieve all the things that I have done,” Carrera said.

Carrera’s faith has also inspired him to become involved with local charity work; he regularly performs free concerts at Miami hospitals with the Ress Family Hospital Performance Project. He plans to continue to share his love of guitar and give back to his community by pursuing a career as a professor after completing his DMA.

Currently, he is preparing for the next phase of his doctoral degree, and hopes to finish within 3 years.

Arizona eliminates Miami from NCAA tournament after ninth inning rally

Starting pitcher Alejandro Rosario seconds away from releasing a pitch during Miami's 4-3 loss to Arizona in the NCAA regionals on June 5. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

Starting pitcher Alejandro Rosario seconds away from releasing a pitch during Miami's 4-3 loss to Arizona in the NCAA regionals on June 5.
Starting pitcher Alejandro Rosario seconds away from releasing a pitch during Miami's 4-3 loss to Arizona in the NCAA regionals on June 5. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

Heartbreak was the only way to describe Sunday night as the Hurricanes fell to Arizona at Mark Light Field in the NCAA regional to end their magical season.

With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, no one on base and 2022 All-American reliever Andrew Walters on the mound, it seemed that the game was all but over. However, a single, a player hit by a pitch and a double by Arizona outfielder Tanner O’Tremba gave Arizona the 4-3 lead that would decide the game.

“We couldn’t finish them off,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “Obviously, here at our ballpark we played pretty well all year long, but at the end of the day we didn’t score runs and we didn’t swing the bat. It’s very tough to swallow right now.

Ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation this season, the Hurricanes aspired to make a deep run in the NCAA College World Series but didn’t make it out of the region.

With a 1-1 score in the bottom of the sixth, third baseman Yohandy Morales smashed a two-run homer into left field to give Miami a 3-1 lead.

However, this was not long lived, as Arizona third baseman Tony Bullard hit a solo home run in the eighth, which narrowed Miami’s lead to 3-2. In the ninth, the Wildcats went up 4-3.

Both teams stranded many runners on base, with Arizona leaving nine and Miami 10. In the bottom of the ninth, Renzo Gonzalez came in as a pinch hitter for Miami to try to bring in runners on second and third. He grounded out to shortstop.

“We just couldn’t get the big hits when we needed to,” Morales said.

Starting pitcher Alejandro Rosario pitched a strong outing for the Canes. In one of his best performances all season, Rosario pitched 5.1 innings and allowed only one run, a solo homer in the third, while striking out six batters.

Though the loss prematurely ended the Hurricanes’ season, Miami’s 2022 campaign was mostly successful, as the team hosted a regional for the first time since 2016. Now, the Canes look to next year in the hopes of improving even more.