By RAHSHEEN TABORN
Get ready Pima Community College – it’s time to enroll in health insurance. My name is Rahsheen Taborn and I am the student government president at Pima’s Downtown Campus. I have been working with the Arizona Public Interest Research Group.
If you are like most students I talk to, you have a lot of questions about health care. It often seems easier to do nothing than to do something. Don’t let your questions get in the way of getting the coverage you need. It is affordable. Read on.
First, why have health insurance? If you don’t have coverage and you get into an accident you could face thousands and thousands of dollars in bills. Couple this with student loans and well you could be facing a lot of debt when leaving PCC.
If you don’t have coverage you might not find out about a health condition you have until it is harder and more costly to treat. Coverage not only provides peace of mind but also can make sure you get any prescriptions you need. And no longer can you be denied for having a pre-existing condition.
OK on to affordability. Despite what you may have heard or think, health insurance is now very affordable – particularly for college students. While health insurance costs depend on your specific financial situation and medical needs, individuals in Arizona earning $16,000 a year or less are likely to qualify for AHCCCS, and individuals earning $40,000 a year or less are likely to qualify for financial assistance in the health insurance marketplace.
To make it even easier to learn about health insurance and to assist in the enrollment process, student government on the downtown campus is partnering with the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and its colleagues. We know that students don’t want slick salespeople who stand to make a profit from the insurance they choose.
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund and members of the Cover Arizona Coalition, which includes the Pima Community Access Program and others, will be on the Downtown Campus on Nov. 19 and 20 speaking with students at a table and in classrooms. I will be participating with Chancellor LEE Lambert and these organizations at a news conference to let individuals in Tucson know about our efforts.
On Nov. 21, you can come to the Downtown Campus and get enrolled. Best to set up an appointment through coveraz.org/connector<http://coveraz.org/connector>
For those new to health insurance or for individuals seeking a refresher, I have found the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s guide “So You Need Health Insurance. Now What?” very helpful.
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund guide is available at arizonapirgedfund.org and contains definitions of common health insurance terms, helps you navigate your options, and provides the know-how needed to make an informed decision.
For example did you know that young adults have additional options, which include staying on your parents’ plan until you are 26?
I encourage members of the PCC community to learn about your health insurance options and get covered. You can apply for AHCCCS any time and the Health Insurance Marketplace opened on Nov. 15. #Getcovered
Pima Community College Downtown Campus
Student Government President
By ANDREW PAXTON
During my time at Pima Community College, I have been privileged to be involved with several dynamic groups that have enriched my educational experience and helped me advance as a leader and an individual.
After my first full semester at Pima, my GPA made me eligible for an invitation from the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
I had never heard of the group, so I did my research like a good journalist should. After deciding they were legit, I paid my membership fee and joined.
It turned out to be one of my best decisions.
The opportunities afforded to me by Phi Theta Kappa have enriched my life, and hopefully the lives of others.
Accomplishments included leadership building workshops in Philadelphia and organizing a commitment drive resulting in more than 500 Pima students pledging to get their degrees.
Shortly after joining PTK, I signed up for the Aztec Press student newspaper. Getting to meet so many people, to hear their stories and share them with others, has opened my eyes. I’m not alone. Check out other staffers’ experiences on Page 7.
As editor, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a talented staff. We continue to make an impact, and are winning awards while doing it. Read about our latest accomplishment on Page 3.
I have also been involved with Honors Club during my time at Pima. The work they have done the last few years is truly amazing. Our piece on Page 5 spotlights their hard work and selfless efforts to enhance the community around them.
You don’t have to be an honors student or journalism junkie to get involved at Pima. There are literally dozens of organizations, all with a specific focus or goal, to suit every student’s needs and interests.
The most rewarding part of being involved with these organizations is getting to help others. Seeing smiles on people’s faces makes the volunteering hours well worth your time and energy. Knowing that you are making a difference is a uniquely satisfying experience.
In addition to growing as an individual and having opportunities to travel and meet new people, getting involved also makes you a better candidate for scholarships and grants. A little monetary incentive never hurt, right?
Whatever your reasons, get involved at Pima. Head to your campus student life office and tell them I sent you. They will take good care of you and tell you everything you need to get started.
Enjoy the issue.
BY MARIANA CEJA
We have Disney princesses for almost all ethnicities, starting with the nine white ones: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, Rapunzel, Merida, Elsa and Anna.
Disney later added minority princesses such as Pocahontas (Native American), Mulan (Asian), Jasmine (Arab) and Tiana (African-American).
Where is my Latina princess?
Yes, Disney unveiled a “Latina princess” in 2013. Sofia the First is a little girl who must learn about royalty.
Her mother is from Spain and her father is Scandinavian. Sofia is fair skinned, with light brown hair and blue eyes – just like most of us Latinas look.
This character has not made it into theaters like the other princesses. She can only be watched on Disney Channel episodes.
Why do all the other princesses have their own movie, but not this one? Are we trying to downgrade our little “Latina” princess?
Make a princess that looks like me: brown eyes and dark hair.
I also need my Latina princess to have the complexity of Dora the Explorer. Don’t try to whitewash me.
Obviously, most Latinas don’t have royal blood. We come from humble working families, but we’re proud of our roots and our brown complexion.
There’s no need for lighter tones or fantasy worlds, just reality.
Our Latina girls need somebody to look up to, somebody they can find themselves in. They must realize they don’t need to be blonde and blue-eyed to be pretty.
We have the right to be princesses too.
Disney should remember that people from more than 20 countries speak Spanish.
Hispanic parents travel long distances at great expense to take their children to Disney theme parks.
Why would a multibillion dollar corporation ignore such a lucrative market?
I am not asking for nine Hispanic princesses, just one that looks like me.
Give my niece and I a chance to be beautiful princesses in our own skin.
Ceja hopes she doesn’t have to wear a blonde wig next Halloween. She would rather style her natural dark hair when dressing up as the new Latina princess.
BY ZACK LEDESMA
At least 370 journalists have been murdered since 2004 and in 90 percent of the cases nobody was convicted for the crime, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Governments need to make a more active effort to protect journalists and enforce strict punishment to discourage violence against the press.
One especially gruesome example took place on Nov. 23, 2009, when 58 people were kidnapped and brutally murdered in the Philippines while on their way to witness Esmael Mangudadatu file a certificate of candidacy for an upcoming election in the Maguindanao province.
Of the victims, 34 were confirmed journalists and media workers covering the story. The others were family and supporters of Mangudadatu.
Nov. 23 has been marked as International Day to End Impunity.
Organizations such as CPJ work to fight back against the intimidation that hampers free press.
Since then, progress to end impunity has been negligible.
More than 50 journalists have been killed worldwide in 2014 so far, with 100 percent impunity, according to CPJ. Of the victims, 41 were killed with definite intent.
Although malicious massacres aren’t prevalent in the U.S., violent attacks on journalists are becoming more common.
One infamous case is when police officers in Ferguson, Mo., attempted to silence journalists while they were documenting protests for slain teen Michael Brown.
Why is it important to end impunity? Other than to save lives, it helps protect the truth.
The more governments, individuals or organizations get away with murder or intimidation, the more journalists are inclined to censor themselves in fear of retaliation.
If important issues aren’t brought to the public eye, entities can get away with any number of criminal actions.
The issue is not a high priority for most people because it doesn’t affect them directly. Many politicians merely promise action to boost their reputation.
This kind of thinking is irresponsible. People have a right to know what is happening in the world and to be exposed to the reality of the situation.
Corruption is happening now and it needs to be brought to light. Journalists risk their lives for the truth, and the truth should be undeniable.
Ledesma is studying to be an artist and a journalist. He doesn’t want to scare potential students from practicing journalism despite the dangers.
Written by Editor-in-chief Andrew Paxton for the Aztec Press editorial board.
Students expecting to retake a class or focus on a difficult course during the holiday break will find themselves left out in the cold this winter.
Pima Community College recently announced it would no longer hold classes during the winter break. The public proclamation came with little fanfare and was released more than a year after the formal decision had been made.
The decision to cancel the classes was made with little or no student input. Many student leaders were unaware of the changes, and most students seemed unaware of the decision even after PCC posted notices on its website and on MyPima.
College officials have given several reasons for the choice to eradicate winter classes, including falling enrollment, low student success rates and budget issues.
The decision to eliminate the entire winter session, including online courses, must be reconsidered.
Hundreds of students registered for winter classes at PCC every year. Although this may be a small percentage of Pima’s 25,000 enrollment during an average spring or fall semester, it is still a key demographic that the college should be serving.
One reason the college has given for cancelling winter courses is student success rates.
However, students often took one difficult class during the winter session. Doing so allowed them to concentrate their focus instead of taking the troublesome course along with a full slate of others.
Removing the option for students to invest their winter break in one class that has been giving them problems will not improve success rates. It could even ultimately be a “last straw” for some students looking to continue their education at another institution.
Most students seek to finish their time at Pima as quickly as possible, to either transfer or enter the workforce. Abolishing winter courses makes it increasingly difficult to finish at PCC in a timely manner.
A primary factor given by the college for cancelling winter classes has been the cost of keeping campuses open for so few students.
Offering online courses during the winter session seems like the obvious solution.
The college should consider providing, at minimum, a robust selection of online courses for students who need them starting in Winter 2015.
Any future changes made by the college that foretell sweeping consequences for students must include increased student input and effective communication to the entire Pima community.
Upholding these commitments will ensure that student’s needs are met.
By JAMIE VERWYS
I have always been drawn to words. My oma (grandmother) often regales me with the vivid stories I created as a child. Despite her recent diagnosis of dementia, she still remembers those stories.
As a teenager, writing poetry became my medicine for depression. It halted anxiety issues and the woes of puberty, all driven by the same new hormones.
With technology, my writing obtained a new platform. The Internet allowed me to share my poems, and I made the first discovery that would lead me to journalism.
When I wrote something, I realized it resonated with others. People related to my prose and I found a new joy putting the complicated nuances of life into words.
Journalism, at its roots, is helping others, helping to foster change. We don’t do this with fluff, propaganda, coercion, bias or persuasion. Journalists do this with truth, with facts, the tools that allow us to find answers.
I do this because I know there is no such thing as a meaningless voice. I am a journalist because there are too many injustices in our world, and I can’t stand by and let it happen anymore.
I say here in print, permanent and on the record, that I will work to give voice to as many people as possible. I will never tell you what to think. I want to provide information to help you make your own decisions. I want you to know the who, what, when, where and why.
Knowledge, truth and the power of our voices can empower us to make change happen.
I didn’t always have a clear path for my future. In fact, I forged a pretty bleak one for myself at times. I have attended Pima Community College off and on for about eight years. I dropped out a couple of times, made a ton of poor life choices and grew complacent.
After I got into some trouble, I returned to school. I knew I wanted to be a journalist but had no idea how much it was going to change my life.
I started on Aztec Press last semester and instantly felt like I had found my place. I wanted to take on every story I could and worked incredibly hard.
All the long hours I’ve put into my articles, sending emails every day, transcribing interviews, riding the bus across town to talk to people, setting my social life aside to meet deadlines, were all worth it. I live for it now.
The Aztec Press is the perfect setting for future journalists. We are encouraged to take risks, be creative and dedicate ourselves to the truth. We are held responsible for accuracy, legwork, deadlines, editing and thinking skills. We are taught well.
I have found my calling because of my fellow news crew, now friends for life, and through all the skills I have learned and the incredible people who have been a part of this process.
My life has changed because of Aztec Press. My only hope is that I can be an investigative reporter who helps bring change to others.
All PCC journalism classes meet at West Campus. Here’s a list of days and times for Spring 2015:
JRN 101–Introduction to Reporting
and Media Writing
Monday-Wednesday: 10:40-11:55 a.m.
Tuesday-Thursday: 10:40-11:55 a.m.
of Media Communications
Monday-Wednesday: 9:10-10:25 a.m.
JRN 185–Newspaper Publishing
Tuesday-Thursday: 1:40-2:55 p.m.
Prerequisite: JRN 101
JRN 235–Broadcast Journalism
Tuesday-Thursday: 9:10-10:25 a.m.
Spring semester only
JRN 240–Editing, Layout/Design
Monday: 1:40-4:10 p.m.
JRN 260–Magazine/Feature Writing
Wednesday: 6:10-8:50 p.m.
Spring semester only
Wednesday: 1:40-4:10 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday: 3-4:15 p.m.
Prerequisite: JRN 185
JRN 290 –
Self-paced. First secure an internship,
then meet with faculty adviser Dave Irwin
Prerequisite: JRN 101
Questions? Contact Cynthia Lancaster,
email@example.com or 206-6635
By BETO HOYOS
The best way to get a real understanding of how news stations operate is to intern at one while still in school.
This fall, I began an internship with Tucson’s CBS affiliate, KOLD News 13. It’s helped me gain a broader understanding of broadcast news and what it takes to work in the industry.
E.J. Junker, assistant content director at KOLD, believes internships can be beneficial.
“It’s a chance to see the day-to-day happenings and real-world stuff,” he said. “I hope you guys come in, have fun and learn a lot.”
News internships can even be beneficial to those not pursuing a career in journalism because it teaches the many layers of communication.
“Any good business is run on good communication,” Junker said.
Communicating is vital in broadcast news to ensure a quality product, KOLD reporter Barbara Grijalva said.
“We have to always communicate with our photographers, or we have to talk with the marketing department, or the art and graphics department,” she said.
The basic prerequisite for a TV internship is to take an introductory news writing class, such as Pima Community College’s JRN 101 – Introduction to Reporting and Media Writing.
In addition to JRN 101, I’ve taken a variety of other journalism courses including the Aztec Press newspaper production classes (JRN 185 and JRN 285), Photojournalism (JRN 280) and Survey of Media Communications (JRN 102).
I also took classes related to my plans for a four-year degree in journalism at the University of Arizona, such as SPE 102 – Introduction to Speech Communication and STU 201 – Transfer Strategies.
“Everyone needs to look into internships and take advantage of what schools like Pima and the UA offer,” STU 210 instructor Ed Doran said.
PCC instructor David Irwin, who oversees internships for the journalism program, told me how to get an internship and urged me to apply for any available.
“Internships are vital in gaining knowledge about a potential career,” Irwin said.
Internships allow students to make professional connections that could be beneficial in future career searches, and can potentially lead to a full-time job.
“In my first and only internship, I went in knowing that I would get hired,” KOLD anchor Dan Marries said. “I would do anything from writing or recording to mopping the floors.”
In my time at KOLD, I’ve done everything from running the teleprompter to being a cameraman for reporters in the field to answering and relaying calls.
Before my internship experience, I didn’t know that sports reporters must deal with long nights. I also had no idea that most reporters meet deadline by finishing their work in a car or at a fast food place with Wi-Fi.
TV reporters deliver 20 to 30 seconds of news, but their job is far from easy. They run around all day to ensure they do the best job covering their story, and always try to improve on the previous report.
“Those guys out there beat themselves up, whether they misspeak or could’ve done their live shot better,” Junker said. “They really just want to get it right.”
They also must battle misconceptions.
“One stereotype of the business is that all folks think it’s only the people that are on TV,” Junker said. “Well, there are 85 people in the newsroom but you don’t see 85 people on TV. It really takes that kind of group to get it done.”
Working in broadcast news isn’t as easy and luxurious as people may think.
“When I told people that I used to anchor, they would say ‘oh, so you go in about 30 minutes before the show and they do your hair and makeup and then you go do a show?’” Grijalva said. “People don’t really know what it takes.”
Junker gets calls asking who does the anchors’ hair. “I said, ‘what do you mean who does our hair?’ It’s whoever has the comb.”
Being in the public eye provides both perks and challenges.
“I don’t know if everyone knows about all the outside-of-work things people do, community service stuff, public speaking events,” Junker said.
On-air personalities such as Marris and Heather Rowe never leave the public eye.
“If you’re Dan or Heather or someone like that and you’re out in public, people recognize you,” Junker said. “You always have to be a little bit on, and I think that’s a challenge.”
By ANDREW PAXTON
Another election is here, and most of us probably just want it to be over so those annoying campaign ads will finally stop.
This election is admittedly less exciting than recent contests, with no presidential race on the ballot, but fewer people than usual are paying attention to what are actually some very important races.
First, the U.S. Senate is up for grabs, with most pundits predicting a Republican victory. That would mean a GOP-controlled Congress, a dream for conservatives and a nightmare for President Obama and his supporters.
Closer to home, Arizonans will vote in the first open election for governor in more than a decade.
Again, the experts predict a victory for the Republican candidate, Doug Ducey. However, a higher-than-anticipated voter turnout could swing the seat to Democratic challenger Fred Duval.
And that’s what every election boils down to: voter turnout.
It’s not always about who has the best ideas (far from it) or the most cash or the most popularity. It’s about who can get their factions to cast ballots when the big day arrives.
Obama swept into the White House six years ago riding a huge voter turnout of youths and minorities, two groups traditionally devoid of much power over anything.
His victory, regardless of how you feel about it, represented the importance of a robust voter turnout among targeted demographics.
The significance of your vote is especially magnified on the local level, and there are several decisions this year that will certainly impact the lives of those around us.
Proposition 303 would allow terminal patients to use experimental medication if there are no other viable options.
I believe this is a crucial piece of legislation and highly encourage everyone to vote for its approval.
There is also a proposition asking voters to give state legislators a raise. A similar measure seems to be on the ballot every election. Given the past voting habits of our state combined with a growing discontent with government nationwide, I see this crashing and burning yet again.
At the county level, Prop. 415 asks voters to approve funding for construction of a new animal control facility. Check out our story on page 7 for more details, but if you believe furry little critters deserve humane conditions, a “yes” vote is the way to go.
In the Pima Community College District 1 race for a seat on the governing board, Mark Hanna and Michael Duran are competing for your vote. Our story on page 7 will fill you in on where they stand on key issues.
No matter who or what you vote for, make an informed vote. Let your voice be heard. Honor the sacrifice of those that fought for you to have that right, and cast a ballot Nov. 4.
Enjoy the issue.
BY TAYLOR JONES
Traveling allows us to immerse ourselves in new cultures. It also provides opportunities to learn another language and meet people completely different than us.
Since college is a time to absorb knowledge, why not take time to travel?
Many colleges offer opportunities to study abroad. You can narrow your choice to a course selection focused on your major or you can take different kinds of classes to explore what it is you’d like to do.
It’s common for students to lose passion when they stay in the same place too long. Viewing the world from a different perspective may put us on the right path.
The main idea of studying abroad is leaving your comfort zone.
I often hear adults say they wish they had participated in this type of worldliness, if only for the sense of wisdom it brings.
Broadening our horizons at this age is the best thing we can do for ourselves. If we become open minded, we will be closer to pursuing our dreams and accomplishing our goals.
Travel often presents obstacles. Work can get in the way and many people have families and other responsibilities.
Students, of course, often face the same obstructions. Many of us work full-time or part-time jobs. Between managing finances, homework, class attendance and internships, how can we sail away to exciting, new lands?
The administrators who facilitate study abroad programs say there are ways to make it work.
Though most students who participate earn academic credits, some programs offer paid jobs. That allows young people to experience life in a different county while working.
I do not yet have personal experience with studying abroad, but many of my friends and family have. Although there was some pretty severe jet lag and culture shock, all experiences have been positive.
Some of my friends went to Barcelona together and had a blast touring museums and eating at superb restaurants. The pictures they sent made me very jealous.
My cousin traveled alone. Though she was nervous, she met great people who helped her enjoy her time away. My aunt and uncle had to force her to come home.
I hope in the next year to be able to share the same story. Perhaps you should look into it as well. You may never have the opportunity again, so embrace it!
Jones is majoring in journalism and hopes to study abroad in Australia.
BY TANISHA KNUTZEN
The restaurant experience can be quite beautiful. Someone takes care of your every need, hand-delivering your food and constantly filling your beverage.
This, however, all comes at a price.
I’m not just talking about the dollar total after you wash away your 12-ounce New York strip steak with various adult beverages. I’m referring to the 20 percent tip that pays my bills.
On average, a server makes $4.90 an hour. Many patrons assume we supplement our income through tips, but what happens when the tips are nonexistent?
I’ll tell you what happens: Bills don’t get paid.
Another misconception about the tipping process is thinking the money goes directly into my pocket. It does not. My tips help pay a team.
I have a busser making 20 glasses of water for the large party that just sat, a food runner making sure food comes out perfect and a bartender who whips up a delicious drink with a couple of extra cherries thrown on top.
Without these people, the dining experience would be a complete disaster.
We all show up with smiles on our faces, even after working a 12-hour shift the night before. Most of us prepare a little song and dance, just to make sure your dining experience is exceptional.
When customers don’t leave me a proper tip, I’m not the only one financially affected. The people I work with suffer as well. We are a team and when one loses, we all lose.
As a server, I understand the tip percentage is situational. The restaurant experience should be stress-free and enjoyable, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Servers are solely to blame for a low tip if it was caused by their lack of customer service skills.
That one terrible server should not be a reflection of the entire service industry, though. Most of us work hard to please our guests. We deserve a quality tip percentage.
I’m not saying you should break the bank trying to take care of your server, unless you absolutely want to. But please do consider the ripple effect of a bad tip.
The concept is quite easy, really.
If you go out to eat and receive quality service, tip your server.
Knutzen wants you to tip servers and bartenders with more than friendly comments and smiles. Those don’t pay the bills.
BY S.J. BARAJAS
Arizona has finally woken up from the longtime nightmare of marriage inequality.
Thanks should go to U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick, who struck down the state’s ban of same-sex marriage on Oct. 17 due to its unconstitutional nature.
Upon hearing the good news, my countenance shifted to an expression of delight.
What sweet irony that this should happen in the same state that introduced legislation called SB 1062 to let businesses deny service to homosexual customers due to religious beliefs.
My hope is that the passing of this law will set in motion more progressive change.
The people in charge of creating and passing our laws seldom truly represent the sentiment of the population, with SB 1070 (anti-illegal immigration) and 1062 being two obvious examples.
Our state has an inexplicable reputation for bigotry and ignorance when it comes to legislation that targets groups of people.
Sedwick’s judicial ruling is a step in the right direction. Arizonans have a right to love whomever they choose and it is gratifying to know some of my friends can now officially marry their partners.
I came from a small, traditional town, the type of place where Mexican machismo is deeply rooted in child rearing.
When one family member came out for the first time, I was one of the first to know.
I remember his panicked voice on the phone, telling me to pick him up because his parents had kicked him out of the house.
No child should ever have to face that kind of rejection from a parent.
His mom and dad became more accepting in the coming months and still love him.
Fear based on ignorance is unfounded. Sometimes all it takes is a second look to realize that nothing is different about the people you know and love.
My heartfelt congratulations to every couple that can finally tie the knot.
Barajas, 23, believes love is a greater power than tyranny.
By ANDREW PAXTON
This semester, Aztec Press has embarked on several in-depth investigative reporting adventures in an attempt to take you, the reader, to places you may have never been or to help you see things differently than you did before.
From the VIP rooms of well-known adult establishments to the struggle adjunct faculty members endure just to teach, this paper has endeavored to challenge the way our readers look at the world around them.
Why, you may ask? Because it’s our job.
It is our responsibility as journalists to hold up a mirror to society and ask, “Is this what we want? Is this who we are?”
The British publisher Lord Northcliffe once said, “News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is just advertising.”
Yes, we publicize events taking place on campus or around the Old Pueblo, and catch you up on sports action from Pima Community College’s many talented teams. But when we have the chance to scratch below the surface, we relish the opportunity to dig deep.
So rarely do people get to go beyond the inch-deep, headline driven, 140-character limit of today’s modern “news” that it almost seems counter-intuitive to look closer and truly understand the world we live in.
In an age when people post “too long, didn’t read” before criticizing a story, is there any hope of someone taking time to digest and appreciate a 2,000 word article, no matter how well-researched and delivered?
Our belief is a resounding “Yes.”
That’s why we will continue to print hard-hitting pieces that might make a few people uncomfortable. With complacency comes a stagnation of ideas, and we seek to be a forum for the bold, to challenge the status quo.
Before the semester’s end, the paper will feature more such stories, including an upcoming piece on gay marriage and a look into the difficulties and opportunities encountered by older students and students from other countries.
Writing these in-depth stories is no easy task, requiring student-journalists to invest hours of research, interviews, writing and editing while also balancing other classes, work, family and personal lives.
All for you, dear reader. To ensure your paper offers unique, original reporting that deals with issues that impact all of us.
Anything less would be a dereliction of our duty as journalists.
Enjoy the issue.
BY TANISHA KNUTZEN
Every year, the holiday season has a sneaky way of showing up before we’re ready and leaving before we’ve fully accepted its presence.
Although most people get all jolly and excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find myself feeling like a little kid on Halloween.
Now, I’m not saying that Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t wonderful holidays. I just don’t believe they carry the same excitement and adventure that Halloween does.
Halloween may not bring a fancy meal and nice wine around a china-set dinner table but it does bring a year’s supply of candy, creative costumes and the ability to be anything your candy-infested heart wants.
If that’s not something to get excited about, you might want to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Who knows, maybe you’re dressing as Ice Cube this year.
Not only does the 31st of October bring out walking banana suits and superheroes stuffing their faces with chocolate but it seems to really bring out the friendly and social sides of people.
I’ve always found it easier to approach a Ninja Turtle at a bar, rather than an ordinary guy in a bro shirt at the same bar. There’s just something special about being around people who have all showed up in ridiculous costumes to celebrate a mutual weirdness together.
Although I am very fond of this awesome holiday, I know that many people cannot express the same like because of personal feelings or even religious beliefs.
We all have our own opinions but I believe that if we can brush away the negative image that comes with Halloween, we can fully enjoy a night dedicated to having a good time.
Dressing up is only a mere portion of the excitement that Halloween conveys. The candy, drinks, friendly strangers and overall atmosphere spark the true excitement. When these pieces can all be tied together, we really are in for a treat.
I have always been and probably always will be an over-sized child with an imagination that loves to run wild.
I truly live for this kind of day because I know that I can do the mummy walk beside a guy dressed in a banana suit and he won’t judge me for believing that I am Ironman.
We might even take shots together and become Facebook friends. It’s Halloween and anything can happen.
Knutzen has always been a big fan of Halloween and considers it the greatest day of the year.
BY ANDREW PAXTON
Every time you watch the evening news or scroll through social media, it seems someone is talking about Ebola.
The deadly super-disease is sweeping across the globe, killing everyone who gets in its way and can’t be stopped.
Well, that’s if you believe the constant hype and fear mongering being pushed by the media and Washington.
Truth is, Ebola is hard to contract. Unlike airborne viruses, such as the flu, Ebola can only be transferred through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease.
Most deaths have occurred in poor African counties lacking modern medical facilities, access to proper sanitation or adequate numbers of doctors.
Patients with Ebola are only contagious when they display symptoms, which include weakness, fever, vomiting and bleeding from some rather nasty places.
Unless you travel to West Africa or come into direct contact with the blood, sweat or saliva of someone with symptoms, you’re basically safe.
Then why the non-stop barrage of Ebola reporting? Is the media exploiting our natural fear of the unknown?
Web searches and social media postings on the virus have spiked since Oct. 1, when Eric Duncan became the first person diagnosed with the disease on American soil, according to Huffington Post.
The reaction is eerily reminiscent of American’s initial response to AIDS. Three decades ago people were afraid to shake hands with, or use a bathroom after, someone they knew or suspected might have the disease.
Finally we learned that although the disease is very serious, it can be managed and treated, once we understood it.
Now, with the 24-hour news cycle providing endless speculation and companies feeding off our concerns to sell products, we must withstand the endless bombardment of Ebola “coverage” while other issues go unnoticed.
Around the same time as this outbreak was gaining steam, activists around the world staged the largest climate protest in history.
More than 500,000 marchers demanded an end to policies that will result in the end of society as we know it if left unchecked.
The protests garnered little more than a day’s news coverage before being dropped in favor of more updates on an obscure disease that most likely will not affect a single person reading these words.
With that type of failure to deliver information that actually impacts our lives, those who prey on our worries will continue to profit long after this latest distraction has passed.
Paxton is a not afraid of Ebola, sharks, clowns, chestnuts or Justin Bieber. Just don’t try to make him eat his vegetables.
BY ALEX FRUECHTENICHT
Students like myself are in need of aid. Financial aid to be exact, as I can’t pay for my schooling out of my own pocket.
Thankfully all Pima Community College campuses have financial aid advisors who can help students like you and me.
Many students, myself included, have several things they’d like to say to the Financial Aid department.
I’ve heard choice words that describe their experiences with FA, such as “uninformed”, “useless” and a “waste of time”. While I agree with these comments, I like to personally use the word “lie.”
Every time I have gone to any of Pima’s FA locations over the past four semesters, I walked away feeling like I wasn’t given all of the information I needed. More often than not, I felt deceived.
The most recent offense was this semester, when I requested more financial aid to cover tuition and pay back my family for books.
I submitted the form before the semester started. I asked two advisors if the form was filled out correctly and both assured me that it was. FA told me it would be processed in two to three days.
A week later, it still wasn’t showing up on MyPima. I was told not to worry.
After five weeks, I went to the MyPima FA chat to see if they could give me an answer instead of trying to brush me aside. The agent told me it usually takes five weeks.
When I asked about the status of my aid, the agent told me I had filled out the wrong form. Though I only asked for more aid this semester, I was given a form for the entire year.
After pulling my hair out, I sent off the correct form for processing. Now, I won’t receive the extra aid until November.
Despite my frustration, I was happy with my chat experience. I may not have gotten the answer I hoped for, but at least I got the truth.
Now don’t get me wrong, the face-to-face advisors are polite and seem like they want to help. But when it comes to money for school, would you rather be lied to with a smile or told the hard truth?
I don’t imagine they are consciously telling me false information. However, the fact remains that I am still being told lies.
Don’t fret my fellow students, for there is a silver lining. Chatting with an online agent has been an overall better experience and the only way I’ve received information that bears fruit.
The FA department should take notes on how the chat rooms help students. It should also give advisors time to learn the right answers.
Doing so would make the experience better for all students who reach out for the truth.
We not only want, but need, accurate information in order to keep attending classes.
Fruechtenicht is a student who is still seeking the truth in what feels like a world of lies.