By ANDREW PAXTON
As we prepare for the holiday season with thoughts of big meals and expensive new gadgets, few of us take the time to consider what we are supposed to be celebrating in the first place.
Most people don’t understand the history of the rituals they engage in year after year, and those who do give little thought to the reasons behind their actions. Society has forgotten the true reason for celebration and concentrates only on the material aspects of the days in question.
Thanksgiving is a classic example of a generally misunderstood and perhaps misguided event, which seems to honor American consumerism more than family or tradition.
With football blasting on the flat-screen TV and family members who barely speak to each other stuffing their faces with enough food to feed a small village while preparing their Black Friday itineraries, there isn’t much about a modern Thanksgiving that the Pilgrims would recognize.
November is also Native American History Month, a fact that almost seems like cruel irony. If the first European settlers hadn’t received help from the indigenous people, the entire scope of American history could have been emphatically different for both cultures.
So how many will take the time to remember the true sentiment behind Thanksgiving?
Although the name implies a distinctly religious overtone, even atheists like me can value the spirit of the day simply by spending quality time with family and friends and appreciating the things that make life worth living.
The same can be said for Christmas, or any of the other religious holidays celebrated in December. I don’t know enough to opine about most of them, but I can say that people seem to have forgotten the true intention of these holidays as well.
The obsession with material objects is nothing new. The rise of industrialized machines and free time has led to a need to entertain the masses for well over a century. But the ever-growing need for the newest electronic gizmo has led to an all-time low of human empathy.
During the holiday break, I urge you to remember what these special times are supposed to represent and model your actions accordingly.
Spend some time volunteering to help those who don’t have enough food, or no one to spend their holiday with. Do something to make your loved ones feel appreciated while you have the chance, instead of waiting until something bad happens and it’s too late.
Empowering and valuing others is a greater gift than any electronic contraption. It will leave you with a much more satisfied feeling inside than a belly full of turkey could ever provide.
By KATIE STEWART
Some people don’t get the concept of college students who also work. We are the students and workers who are always on the run, never having a moment to just chill. We are the ones who always have somewhere to go or something to do.
Our bosses, instructors and our families seem confused about what we do that makes us so tired and so busy. Our days are filled with midterm papers, lectures at odd hours, long shifts at various jobs and unusual study times.
Some of us don’t have scholarships for college and are not eligible for financial aid. Our families don’t pay for our schooling.
Students like myself are painstakingly determined to do it on our own, with no help from any source except our jobs.
Working in addition to being a college student carries a steep price.
We get behind in our studies and lose friendships due to lack of sleep. We sometimes lose sight of our goals because we’re constantly working and going to school.
The authors of an article titled “Learning and Earning: Working in College,” say full-time employment may impair student performance.
“For example, 55 percent of those students working 35 or more hours per week report that work has a negative effect on their studies,” the article says.
Students who work full time reported numerous burdens:
- 40 percent say work limits their class schedule.
- 36 percent say it reduces their class choices.
- 30 percent say it limits the number of classes they take.
- 26 percent say it limits access to the library.
Being a full-time student with a full-time job takes a toll, yet we must do both if we want a better life.
We want to study for our exams and do our homework, but we also have jobs that require our attendance. We want responsibility and we want our peers, instructors and families to be proud of us, but the candle can burn out quickly.
There is literally no winner in this situation.
Maybe all we can ask is that our work bosses and our college instructors understand that we only have so much time in a day. We’re only human, not indestructible machines.
Stewart wants more time during the day so she can be successful in life. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Imagine if you were going to class and saw a flier announcing a major band like Green Day or a television personality like Jon Stewart performing at Pima Community College.
Sound impossible? It isn’t.
Both artists performed at Salt Lake City Community College, according to college representatives who recently visited Tucson.
The Utah college has about 12,000 students, which roughly equals the number of students enrolled at Pima’s West Campus.
What’s Utah’s secret?
An activity fee, paid for by students along with tuition. The fee is used to fund major events on campus, as well as endeavors for clubs.
A fee of $1 per credit hour, devoted solely to Student Life, would provide hundreds of thousands of dollars every semester for large-scale events.
Those events could in turn be used as fundraisers for student organizations, leading to a revenue-generating cycle.
The fee would supplement, not replace, funding the college already provides to Student Life at each campus.
Pima currently charges students for a host of other extras.
Those charges, paid along with tuition, include technology fees and student services fees that fund athletic teams. An activity fee would directly benefit nearly every student.
Bringing large events to Pima would energize the student population and help foster the sense of involvement that is desperately lacking in the community college experience.
Student organizations could also use money provided by the fee to attend conferences, attract important guest speakers or provide initial financing for educational projects.
Some students will argue they can’t afford the price of tuition, much less another fee. They might say a few extra dollars in their pocket would be more beneficial than a concert or a trip for club members.
That’s why there should be an opt-out option.
Students who don’t want to pay the activity fee could simply check a box during registration and keep the money for themselves.
If students want to bring important events to campus, they should be willing to pay an extra few dollars to make it happen. If a large majority opt-out, students would have no one but themselves to blame for lack of funding.
In the era of crowdsourcing and micro-fundraising, a small fee paid by everyone, to benefit everyone, seems logical.
At best, Pima would be able to offer students events and activities on par with those of larger institutions.
At worst, Student Life offices at each campus would receive a small boost to distribute to students who are active in the college community.
What’s the harm in trying?
Written on behalf of the Aztec Press Editorial Board by Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton. Student editors can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By BRENDA PACHECO
Since the last major reform in 1986, immigration continues to be a major issue in this country. With the current political blockade in Congress, needed reform may be not happen for years to come.
The government is getting lots of backlash because of its lack of preparation and solutions to the numerous issues surrounding immigration.
Many people are getting screwed over, and money is being wasted on education of immigrants who end up getting deported after graduating.
The immigrants get kicked out of the country, and can’t do anything with the degree for which they have studied. It takes a long time to get back into the country because so many people are trying to get citizenship.
Despite what some people think, it is not easy to attain citizenship. The citizenship process takes at least several months, and that’s if you have a spouse or child who is already an American. If not, it could take years to attain legal status, depending on the individual.
By the time they can get back into the country, immigrants need to go back to school to renew their degree. That’s more money being wasted.
By no choice of their own, many immigrants were brought into this country for a better future by their parents. As they work toward that future, it is taken from them.
Many of these young men and women are intelligent and have necessary skills and education to help America improve, but aren’t given a chance.
I don’t think people should come to America and enjoy the luxuries without contributing to building the country’s economy or prosperity.
However, I don’t believe the government is doing the right thing by expelling people who work hard and pay taxes, or students who are earning an education and trying to improve their lives.
Our government needs to take into consideration the economic and educational advantages of allowing immigrants an opportunity to contribute to America and build their own future.
Pacheco is a culture lover and enjoys music of all kinds. She believes that everyone should be treated with respect and equality. She can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
By A. GREENE
An estimated six to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters annually, and three million of them are euthanized.
Just 30 percent of animals in homes came from shelters. Though rates of euthanasia have gone down in past years, overcrowding in shelters remains a significant issue.
Pet abandonment contributes to this overcrowding. Though no concrete figures exist, many animal experts estimate the number of animals abandoned each year to be in the millions.
The Humane Society of Southern Arizona receives about 10,000 animals per year, according to Sara Gromley, public relations coordinator.
“About half of those are strays,” she said. “The other half are owner released.”
“Moving” is one of the most commonly given reasons for pet abandonment. Some animal shelters in college towns report seeing an increase in the number of pets being abandoned near the end of the school year.
Natalie DiGiacomo, the department director of shelter services with the national Humane Society, said college students who grew up with a pet often miss them once they’re in school.
Pets are not a short-term commitment. Cats can live for 14-plus years, and require planning. Dogs, too, live much longer than it takes to get a bachelor’s degree.
Responsible pet owners need to spay or neuter, and keep up to date with shots. In addition, many houses and apartments don’t allow pets, or require a hefty deposit.
When these situations arise, some decide to abandon their pet.
DiGiacomo and Gromley agree on a number of alternatives to adopting a pet that is less of a lifetime commitment, such as volunteering at a shelter.
“Some of our best volunteers are college students,” Gromley said.
Fostering is another way to help an animal without taking on 15 to 20 years of responsibility. Food and medical needs are taken care of, and you only foster until the animal is adopted.
Abandoning an animal is not a choice to make lightly. And statistically speaking, for many animals, abandonment is nearly a death sentence.
Before adopting, consider not only your life but the life of your new pet as well.
Greene is the loving owner of a cat named Momo, who is very strange and loves to eat wilted spinach. Greene can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By SEBASTIAN BARAJAS
Some would argue that the landscape for dating and relationships between men and women has evolved. With the introduction of social media, texting and dating sites, there are enough ways to meet people of the opposite sex to make your head spin.
There is no doubt that the ability to communicate and gather information on someone has changed the way we interact and view the opposite sex. So, what does this mean in terms of how women treat men?
To better express my point of social media, let us imagine a scenario.
You’re at a raging college party feeling confident and studly, when your attention is drawn to the hot blonde in the corner. Let’s say you approach her and things go really well. At the end of the night, what do you do?
Standard procedure would dictate that you get her number and add her on Facebook, but then what?
Both genders can agree that the subtlety of flirting through text often goes unnoticed or is misinterpreted, and social media can skew someone’s image.
Ladies, I understand you want to get to know a guy before giving him the time of day but Facebook stalking might mislead you.
Men prefer straightforwardness. It’s a turn-on, way better than playing guessing games all day.
Social media aside, it’s hard to be romantic in this day and age.
Women expect men to sweep them off their feet and men want to genuinely impress the women they like. However, not all of us feel comfortable doing a sit-down dinner where we have to spend more than we’d like.
Of course I’ll always be a gentlemen and pay but, seriously, you should like me without the incentive of a free meal.
I would much rather invite you to a night out on the town, and maybe if the mood is right serenade you or something.
Anything is better than sitting through the “interview” dinner. Don’t make guys go through that. It’s nothing short of torture and there has to be a better way of showing you what I’m about.
Women, you drive us boys crazy. Most of you are fully aware of that, but let’s not kid ourselves: I’m sure we do a little something for you as well. Guys like me jump at the chance to come across as cavalier and we’re proud to be gentlemen.
My point is, men like to feel appreciated. If women were direct about the way guys make them feel, the world would be a better place.
We would certainly be more inclined to treat you like a princess and go the extra mile.
Barajas is a day-dreamer and journalism student with a guitar and too much time. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
By LOC TRAN
Numerous elements distinguish the difference between a boy and a man. The way you treat your lady makes a huge difference in which category you fall under.
For instance, it’s important to respect each other when it comes to social networking.
We may not like to admit it, but most of us can’t go a couple of hours without checking and updating our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That doesn’t mean you can completely ignore that fact that you have a significant other.
If you and your girl get into an argument, don’t log into Facebook and post a status about it. It’s no one’s business to know what happened. Keep it between the two of you.
Be careful with what you post. Telling your girlfriend that you’re having a bro night, then later posting a picture with some random girl may not be the best idea.
Jealousy drives women up the wall. We may say we’re not jealous, but that’s not the truth in most cases.
Don’t lie to us, either. If you lie and we find out about it, we’ll be more upset than if you had just told us yourself. Communication is important in all relationships.
And another thing: Don’t be the couple that is continuously going back and forth about what to do on your date night.
Be a gentleman and step up. Plan something special for you and your lady. Let her get all dressed up and show her off.
It impresses us much more than the usual, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”
Women love romantic guys, and it won’t kill you to be romantic every once in a while.
We like surprises. It doesn’t always have to be expensive jewelry or a new designer purse. A little goes a long way. Something as little as flowers and a sweet card helps brighten our day and lets us know you’re thinking of us.
Your girlfriend, fiance or wife is someone who means a lot to you, so make it known and express your love for her.
Nothing says “I love you” like being a real gentleman.
Tran believes you must respect, love and cherish your lady to keep her happy. She can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Registration for spring classes opened Nov. 11, and I hope some of you are contemplating joining the staff of the Aztec Press.
You may be wondering if you have what it takes to write for the paper. Perhaps you wonder if the chance to see your name in print is worth the effort.
The first step to joining the Aztec Press is enrolling in JRN 101: Introduction to Reporting and Media Writing.
That’s a prerequisite because you need training in basic newswriting before you’re ready to work for a news publication. You must also be aware of Associated Press style and other key aspects such as media law and ethics.
Maybe you have already taken JRN 101 but still don’t feel ready for the student newspaper staff. There are other classes to try before joining our motley crew.
Consider JRN 240: Editing, Layout and Design or JRN 280: Photojournalism. You can also take creative writing, graphic design or art photography classes to enhance your skill sets.
Once you are ready to join the staff, you’ll enroll in JRN 185: Newspaper Publishing. Aztec Press is an academic class set up as a hands-on learning laboratory. It meets Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
So, should you join? If you take pleasure in expressing yourself, the paper is for you. We are always in need of talented writers, photographers, copy editors and page designers.
The student publication also helps you learn multimedia skills, ranging from video production to website content management.
Whether you’re a pencil-pusher, a shutterbug or a computer whiz, working for a college newspaper helps you build a resume and a portfolio of published work. That’s the first thing potential employers want to see.
Some things you need to be successful on the paper can’t be learned in classes. Hard work, enthusiasm and an ability to meet tight deadlines are all integral parts of being an effective journalist, at both the college and professional levels.
When you are a part of the paper, you are a member of a team. We all depend on each other to make it work, and we are only as strong as our weakest link.
We do work hard, but we have lots of fun as well.
The hands-on experience available from working on a college paper is unmatched anywhere else.
If you are devoted, you will learn more during your time on staff than you have at any other point in your educational pursuits.
If you are dedicated and passionate in your work, then we want you as a part of our team next semester.
To regain the faith and trust of its students and the public, Pima Community College needs to be honest and forthcoming with all issues the college is facing.
Whether it’s programs that are under sanction, changes to financial aid requirements or campus administrators being fired, we as students have a right to know.
When the Arizona State Board of Nursing issued a notice of deficiency to the nursing program at the Pima, there was no notification from the college to students.
The college also failed to adequately inform students about the numerous changes that took place to financial aid this year, leaving many students scrambling to set up payment plans.
After the September firings of Downtown Campus President Luba Chliwniak and vice president Jerry Haynes, the college’s faculty and staff were invited to a meeting with the chancellor to learn what led to the dismissals.
Chancellor Lee Lambert even talked about the need for more openness during that meeting, telling the audience he had never been a part of an organization that has “too much communication.”
An email notice, an announcement on MyPima or a posting on the college’s website would all have been effective ways to communicate to students the issues surrounding the sanctions, financial aid changes and firings.
All of these issues have taken place as the college attempts to have sanctions removed by the Higher Learning Commission, Pima’s accrediting body.
“We expect our institutions to provide information and be transparent with information being provided to the student body and constituents,” Karen Solomon, a vice president with the HLC, told Pima’s governing board during a meeting in May.
To Pima’s credit, there has been more open engagement and interaction since Lambert was hired as the college’s chancellor.
Lambert has been more engaged with the community and is attempting to be more inclusive when making decisions that impact employees.
Students have been encouraged to join committees to help get sanctions on Pima removed. The chancellor is also visiting student organizations, including Aztec Press, to recognize their achievements.
Provost Jerry Migler has held numerous informational sessions regarding the status of the HLC probation and how Pima is addressing the issues.
However, students crave more communication from the college administration. We don’t want to find out what is going on from local media or after hearing rumors from classmates or college employees.
Pima has taken several positive steps in recent months to become more inclusive to the community.
Now the college must continue to bridge the gaps in communication. It must ensure all interested parties, including students, are kept informed of any problems or issues PCC may face.
That’s the way to restore trust and credibility in Pima’s leadership.
Written on behalf of the Aztec Press Editorial Board by Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton.
By BETO HOYOS and SEBASTIAN BARAJAS
Making the transition from a community college to a university can be a confusing and rigorous process.
Pima Community College offers a class specifically designed to ease students into the transition.
STU 210 is a transfer strategies course for students seeking to further their education at a university. Students who elect to take the class gain the benefit of priority registration status at the University of Arizona, though the course is applicable to other schools.
“With the high demand for courses, it is not unusual for some classes at UA to fill within minutes of being open,” instructor Edward Doran said in an email.
In Fall 2012, more than 800 PCC students transferred to UA. Of those, 200 were enrolled in STU 210.
Doran said that means 75 percent of students did not receive the benefits that STU 210 can offer.
“If you transfer on your own, you’re at the back of the line,” he said.
Priority registration status is valid for two semesters after completing the course.
The class also includes UA’s mandatory orientation. Transfer students not enrolled in the class must pay for the orientation.
An informal survey of Pima students currently enrolled in STU 210 generated positive comments.
“I think it’s really helpful, because it’s stressful to do the whole process of transferring to a university,” Zujaila Ornelas said.
Mario Cuevas also called the course helpful, and said he appreciates having help with the transfer process.
“It’s pretty informative, man,” Cuevas said. “It just makes things easier.”
STU 210 courses are offered each semester at five Pima campuses.
The first few sessions focus on the application process and address any questions students have. The remainder of the semester focuses on understanding the challenges of attending a university and preparing for the transition.
Students spend half of their class time at UA, where speakers and representatives discuss everything from campus health to grants.
Some classes schedule tours of the UA campus, while other have students schedule their own tours.
In addition to the transfer strategies course, students have access to a UA admissions advisor housed in the Downtown Campus Counseling Center.
“UA has made a strong commitment in supporting Pima students in the transfer process,” Doran said.“Unfortunately, many of our students are unaware of this support.”
STU 210 – Transfer Strategies
The two-credit course is offered each semester at five PCC campuses.
Spring 2014 enrollment opens Nov. 11.
UA Transfer Admissions
Paul J. Miller
UA Office of Admissions @ Pima Downtown Campus
By DANA BOYD
America has abandoned the concept of raising children. Most homes today have two working parents and their kids are taken care of by sitters or put into after-school programs, but is it what’s best for them?
Children should be raised by their own parents, in their own homes.
Homemakers and stay-at-home parents have become nearly extinct. It somehow became taboo for a woman to stay home and bring up her brood.
In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 70.5 percent of mothers with children under age 18 worked outside of the home. Mothers with infants accounted for 23.2 percent of those working.
The homemaker used to teach her young ones manners, hospitality, generosity and how to become hard-working, good-hearted citizens. Now, Mama is at work, Daddy’s away on business and kids are left alone with their electronic devices.
Some people might say that staying at home is old-fashioned. They argue that feminists fought hard to give women opportunities beyond having a baby attached to their hip. But what is the cost to the child?
Children from traditional families are more likely to do well on standardized tests, according to Family Facts. They are also accepted to college 9 percent more often than children from non-traditional family settings,
When parents go to work, their kids stay at home by themselves or with sitters. They are surrounded by all kinds of media featuring mature themes.
They watch television shows that highlight sex, drug use and murder. Parents may think their kids aren’t being exposed, but can they monitor them if they’re not there?
Children need to be nurtured and be taught right from wrong, plus be surrounded by positive role models. Otherwise, their impressionable minds will be molded by music, TV and video games.
A 2008 study by Grand Theft Childhood showed that 60 percent of young boys who had played mature-themed video games had been involved in a violent incident.
I understand that both parents in many families must work to remain financially afloat, and there are many single parents who need to work.
But can they with good mind leave their child for the world to influence and raise?
If it is not crucial that you work, wouldn’t you rather spend time bringing up your children? You should be the one to instill your values and ethics.
Society will thank you when your polite child opens a door for them.
Boyd believes that children are better suited for life when they have been taken care of by a stay-at-home parent.
By BETO HOYOS
It’s no surprise that marijuana has earned high praise in recent years as a go-to medicine and popular recreational substance.
A new Gallup poll said 58 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana. Support has increased by eight percentage points since 2011.
If marijuana was harmful, why would it be used for medicinal purposes? Recent studies have shown it has many legitimate medical applications.
The data convinced at least one former skeptic, neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Gupta has become an advocate for medical marijuana, and made a documentary titled “Weed” that aired on CNN in August 2013.
The change of heart comes after Gupta wrote an article for LIFE magazine in 2009 titled, “Why I would vote no on pot.” Gupta later apologized to his readers, and admitted he did not look hard enough for proof that marijuana can be helpful.
In some cases, marijuana is the only substance that helps.
Charlotte Figi is a 3-year-old who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of intractable epilepsy. Her seizures were not controlled by medication.
Before doctors treated Charlotte with marijuana, she was having 300 seizures a month. After using marijuana, her seizures decreased to two or three a month.
It’s understandable why parents would be skeptical but Charlotte did not smoke the marijuana. The CBD components were extracted and given to her in food.
The future of marijuana might not even see people rolling J’s. Medical patients who do not want to inhale smoke can use a popular alternative, cannabis edibles.
Edibles are foods cooked with cannabis, usually as an oil or butter. Patients consume the cannabis edibles to alleviate their symptoms.
Marijuana can harm a young developing brain. Opponents point to studies that show users who begin to smoke at age 16 may experience lower IQ and short-term memory problems. Use can also heighten the risk of psychosis.
However, just 10 percent of adult users become dependent on marijuana. Cocaine hooks about 20 percent. The most addictive drug is tobacco. About 30 percent of users become addicted, and many eventually die.
You don’t have to try marijuana, but please give it a chance.
Hoyos, a journalism major and a supporter of marijuana, plans to attend the University of Arizona
By KATIE STEWART
Online dating is a dangerous game that few people should risk playing.
More than 40 million U.S. residents have tried online dating. That’s a lot of strangers communicating with one another.
Do these people know the potential dangers? Probably not.
When you connect online, you do not know who is on the other side of the monitor. The person could be falsifying gender, age or appearance. He or she might even be a complete psychopath.
These issues are compounded when people use the Internet to search for a romantic connection.
The 2010 movie “Catfish” tells the story of Nev Schulman, who was in an online relationship with someone he thought was a perfect girl named Megan. Schulman communicated with Megan through Facebook, text messages and phone calls.
When Schulman traveled to her home town, he found that Megan was actually a married, middle-aged woman named Angela. She fabricated the whole story.
Another example is the “Craigslist Killer,” a movie about a man accused of killing victims he met after placing online ads.
Linda Kelly, a Greater Baltimore Medical Center nurse who heads the hospital’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination program, has written about the dangers of online dating.
“There used to be more safety nets for young people as they were beginning their social lives and entering into relationships,” Kelly wrote. “Now, with electronic media and social media, those safety nets don’t exist anymore.”
Social media can be a dangerous form of communication. People use it as a way to literally play with people. Liars and psychopaths are master manipulators who tell you what you want to hear.
Some modern relationships begin without face-to-face communication. Something isn’t right if the other party isn’t willing to meet in person, or at least talk via a webcam service such as Skype.
Although social media is a big part of everyday life, people must be cautious. We shouldn’t be too trusting, and must restrict how much we tell strangers about ourselves.
Failing to do so can bring consequences far more serious than losing at Monopoly.
Stewart is a journalism major who aspires to someday work at Rolling Stone Magazine and Vanity Fair.