The Quarantine Chronicles

The Quarantine Chronicles

A message from Dr. Mary Cardaras (Dr. C.)

Dear East Bay Community,
This semester I taught a course called Journalism and Social Justice. It is a required course in the MultiMedia Journalism option in Communication. The course is to introduce students to the stories, the journalism that may have changed history and impacted our society in profound ways over the years. We also monitor the news as it is happening and I ask students to identify social justice stories in environmental reporting or in political reporting or in reporting about the economy. Social justice stories are about people, people who are impacted by the decisions of the well-positioned, the powerful, the influential, the well-heeled. In March, as the darkness of the COVID story came upon us, as it covered us, affecting every aspect of our lives, around the world, I realized that the social justice stories emerging now are about US!!! We are those stories and the news media are telling them all the time, every day. For me, it made sense to ask my students to keep a diary of their experiences every day as they were experiencing quarantine, social distancing, and not coming to campus. I also asked them to write a personal essay about this historical moment, one that they will, no doubt, tell their children and grandchildren about. Also, I invited students from other departments to join my students in telling their stories, too. I want our students to know that their feelings matter, their thoughts matter and that they have valuable insight as we all meet this profound moment in time. These essays are their stories and I offer my deep gratitude to each of them for publicly revealing a part of themselves.


COVID on the Front Lines

By Anonymous , CONTRIBUTOR
As an employee of one of the largest healthcare providers in Northern California, I’ve had a front-row seat to our ever changing COVID-19 policies and screening procedures as they trickled from upper administration down to the healthcare employees directly involved in patient care. These policies and procedures always seemed to roll out weeks behind the science, and with our usual weekly staff meetings all of a sudden cancelled, we no longer had a forum to raise our hand and question them. Please Read More

According to health officials, the Bay Area is believed to have had the first U.S. cases of community spread of the novel coronavirus. Even as local residents were spreading the virus among themselves in March, our pre-appointment screening questions at that time were still asking patients whether or not they had “recently traveled to a coronavirus-infected country like Italy, China, or Iran,” as though the United States was not already infected with the virus itself.
It was a pointless question for more than one reason since we weren’t instructed to reschedule those who had recently been out of the country anyway. As long as they weren’t currently showing any symptoms, two-week incubation period be damned, our globetrotting patients were fine to come in with no required quarantine period.
Our second screening question asked the patients if they were “experiencing any flu-like symptoms, fever or cough.” If they were experiencing these symptoms, they were still allowed to come in with a mask, as long as they had not recently traveled outside of the country. Because remember, there’s obviously NO WAY they could have contracted the coronavirus here.
Lastly, we were told to ask them if they had been “exposed to anyone who’s tested positive for coronavirus,” as though they had any way of knowing who among the public they had come into contact with, had been tested for coronavirus and who hadn’t, or who was carrying the disease and who wasn’t.
Tests were extremely hard to get for asymptomatic people (and still are). We had no idea who had the disease, and this was the entire reason for the statewide lockdown. Even today, staff members who live with someone who’s tested positive are allowed to come into work as long as they aren’t currently showing any symptoms (yet). The screening questions seemed inadequate and pointless, and we were all extremely concerned that we were allowing sick people inside the building, exposing ourselves, our families at home, and all of our immunocompromised patients, who relied on us to keep them safe at their appointments.
On top of the lax screening questions, we were told we were not allowed to wear masks. There was a finite supply, and they needed to be saved for patients. Upper management would walk around and bark orders for staff to remove their masks immediately, even when the doctors we worked for had requested that we wear them, to protect the patients as well as ourselves. It wasn’t until the beginning of April that the mask policy finally changed and they allowed us to wear one mask each day that was issued to us at the beginning of our shift. We are not permitted to wear the personal cloth masks donated from volunteers who sew them for us.
We experienced the same delay in safety precautions with temperature checks at the front door. Our staff had initially requested we start doing this as an additional precaution in the beginning of March, as employees were waived past the front door screening check with a flash of their badge, as though having a badge meant we were immune from the virus and didn’t need to be screened or checked like the rest of the public. Even though we asked multiple times, our requests were rejected, and we wouldn’t officially begin checking temperatures at the front door for another month. As a whole, our screening policies were far too slow to be enacted, and completely insufficient for the amount of spread we already had in our communities.
In any case, California seems to be faring considerably better than many other states with significantly smaller populations, and for that I am grateful. We were the first in the country to lockdown and enact statewide social distancing policies, and we received the payoff of not overloading our hospital systems and keeping the resulting deaths to a minimum. Our clinic location has isolation rooms designated for suspected COVID-19 patients, and they have remained prepared, yet are unused, so far, in this pandemic. Hopefully they will stay that way.
As we make the switch from in-person visits to tele-health appointments in order to minimize unnecessary face-to-face contact, our daily patient census continues to fall, dwindling the income our campus relies on to pay its employees. Many employees, myself included, have recently been furloughed until further notice, and hours have been reduced for remaining staff across the board. Those who worked five days a week were dropped to four, and then dropped to three.
We aren’t alone—30 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since mid-March. For many people living through this pandemic, the overall experience has been stressful and anxiety-ridden, wrought with layoffs, furloughs, and unemployment. Many people are wondering where they will get the money to pay their bills and keep food on the table in the weeks and months to come. Parents have been forced to homeschool their children while attempting to work from home at the same time. While my heart aches for the people struggling to get by in these difficult times, I recognize that I am incredibly lucky to say that our family has been doing alright, filling our time with projects around the house and enjoying all the newfound time together. With so much death, grief, and loss, I am almost ashamed to admit how much we are enjoying it.
The abrupt change of pace we’ve been forced into has been well received in our household. Rather than chasing our tails rushing from one commitment to the next and living to cross off items from the to-do list, our schedules have been cleared and we are filling them with each other. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, our home had been slipping through the cracks as little projects to make it nicer, were very low on the priority list. We had birthday parties and BBQs and holidays and baby showers and family dinners and work potlucks and vacations and errands and class to attend. Now that life as we knew it has been put on pause, we’ve been filling our time with home projects—we built a deck in our backyard, refinished our old wooden front door, cleaned up our front and back yards and planted a flower garden, updated the interior décor of our home, bought an engraving pen and started personalizing random objects around the house like glass beverage coasters and stainless steel water bottles, organized our son’s bedroom, cleaned out the garage. With every project that gets done, the pride we take in our home increases, and the more we enjoy spending our time in it.
Sooner or later, this pandemic will end. Businesses will start to reopen; school bells will ring again. We’ll be back to work, and the alarm clock will go off at 4:40 am. For now, we’ll look on the bright side and cherish every second of our precious time together. We will continue our daily isolation walks, bake all the complicated desserts we never had the time for before, take as many pictures of our growing son as we possibly can, cherish every laugh, really make it a point to be grateful for the personal experience we are having, and recognize and document this monumental moment in history that we are currently living through. We’ll be telling our son all about it when he is older.
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Life in Isolation: Finding Meaning and Discomfort

By Angela Cirillo , CONTRIBUTOR
Covid-19. It really has been quite an interesting adventure so far. It seems as though people have forgotten to have compassion for other humans. As I quickly shopped for my groceries one day I watched a man holding a six pack of Keystone Ice, as he clearly was watching an older woman struggling. He did absolutely nothing to help her or even to let her go in front of him in line. His response was, as I glared at him, “social distancing.” Really? Please Read More

I wonder if that cute brunette with the flower dress on knows how beautiful she is even with a mask over her face. I’m picturing her smile in my mind and wondering if she wears lipstick. Lesbians are already hard to figure out here as it is. Are you batting for the same team, I wonder?
In a Covid-19 world, I’m completely lost. The “quarantine thirst” is real, although I am enjoying loving myself more deeply in this solo, single life here, isolated, with my 20-pound cat, Catcher.
Life without human interaction has me reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle and all of Brene Brown’s books because I feel as though I need a boost of self-worth or connection to writers that have traveled down the same life paths as me. From Glennon’s first book Love Warrior, I felt this quote fitting and soothing here while in isolation: “You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth.”
I’ve found myself tired and useless, but wanting to still be creative and alive. I started a podcast that is terrible. Don’t listen to it. I had a nickname that was given to me that seems to stick, Angie on the Beat. So if you are ever on Spotify, you will find me there talking about the interesting things I’ve seen, felt, and heard through this Covid crisis. But it’s terrible… and it has enlightened me in so many ways.
Endless Zoom calls and meetings have been exhausting, no? I had four in one day and I was finding myself drinking wine from a coffee cup just so people didn’t judge me for drinking all the time.
The beginning of Covid-19 was the worst for me. I was drinking wine every day and forgetting who I really was. It’s as if a disease took over the world and my mind. I became someone I’m really not and knew there needed to be an intervention to pull me out. Thanks to my awesome friends and family, for making me realize that we sometimes fall, but we always get right back up.
My studies were difficult. It’s not easy being a Communication student and not being able to communicate face to face. A screen is different for me. We can be whoever we want behind a screen. It’s been hard to fully know if I’m getting “the version” of people they truly want me to see or is it all made up? We are all lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year. Thank you, Pink Floyd, for that. Now that I just told you my age, if you don’t listen to Pink Floyd, you are missing out.
Dr. Liu, you drove me crazy. I am going to say it because it’s true. Honestly though, I would not have been able to get through half the stuff I did without you. So, thank you for believing in me and knowing this whole online crap was not fun.
I miss the classroom. I did better on my exams in the classroom. Isn’t that crazy? I’m able to use my notes and book for the test and still didn’t do as well as I did in class. It makes me wonder through this pandemic, why that is? I know why! I was more motivated because I was around influential people. I was more motivated when I had interactions with others in the classroom. I felt a part of something on campus. Online classes separated me from everything that I wanted to become. I can’t just sit here and write a book for you. I want to hear your story, live. I want to know you in person.
Quarantine. My house is a mess. I don’t want to do my laundry or the dishes. Maybe this is when I wish I had a girlfriend to help me out with some of this stuff, but it is what it is. I have made way too many excuses as to why I can and cannot do something and that is annoying. This is not the Angela I know.
Being alone isn’t easy, yet it’s the greatest gift I’ve ever received. I’m understanding how much Communication is important in the world. I’m understanding that connection is what keeps our stories out there. I’m understanding that it is okay not to be okay all the time. I’m understanding that we don’t have to have it all together all the time to know that we still show up and try.
I’m understanding that education really was the best decision of my life and I, personally, don’t know where I’d be without it.
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My Life in Quarantine

By Griselda Amador , CONTRIBUTOR
Life is full of surprises, some good and some bad. 2020 started innocently enough, but ended up surprising everyone. The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, came as a surprise, affecting the lives of thousands of people and causing a great crisis in our society. However, this seems to be just the beginning, and we don’t know how or when this will end.Please Read More

In early January, I started hearing rumors about a virus spreading in China, but I never imagined that it would spread around the world. I have heard stories of how the virus got created and how it is supposedly a lie or a government strategy to cover or create something, but, to be honest, I don’t know what to believe.
Later in March, I heard on the news that the virus was spreading in many countries, including the US, so in-person classes began getting canceled and were moved online. After that, the Bay Area ordered residents to shelter in place until May 3, then May 17, and now they said May 30, forcing all the stores, companies, and non-essential businesses to close. This shelter in place affected everyone’s economy and left many people unemployed, but that’s something that had to be done to avoid spreading the coronavirus since the numbers of people getting infected were increasing each day in the US.
Watching the news and seeing people go crazy in the stores, buying toilet paper, and food items as if the world was going to end, it is dramatic, crazy, and worrying all at the same time. We all know we are in a difficult crisis right now, but it’s unfair that people react that way and are selfish when there are more people in need of those products. Items like toilet paper, food, gel sanitizer, masks, and more, got scarce. It is absurd to me that some people took advantage of this situation to raise the prices of such products. In a situation like this one, we must be united and support each other, not to take advantage of it that way.
This pandemic crisis has affected our lives in different ways. Businesses have been hit economically, and for millions of people forced to stay home due to COVID-19 restrictions, it has meant losing a job, struggling to feed their children, paying rent, and covering bills. While the spread of the new novel of the coronavirus has stifled the US economy as well as society, families continue to learn to cope with isolation at home, loss of jobs and income, and in many cases, cope with their depression and despair.
First of all, since this whole pandemic crisis started, most of my assignments in all my classes have been about COVID-19, which has allowed me to learn more about this novel and its causes. One of them is how students, including me, have been affected in different ways. For example, many did not have access to the internet or computers at home to continue their school work, making this more challenging to interact in their classes. Also, students living on campus had to return to their homes, which caused them to leave or quit their jobs in this area to return to their homes.
On the other hand, society has been affected by the closing of jobs and leaving them with the concern of how to excel in the situation and their expenses. However, not all Americans were so affected because many were unemployed due to the closure of non-essential businesses, but still, they were being paid for almost two months. Many also obtained federal aid from the Trump administration, which is based on an economic impact payment to specific individuals who qualify. This help was at least a relief to many in need. In my case, I can say that undocumented workers like me were even more affected, for the simple reason that we did not have any of those federal aids or advantages that Americans do. Undocumented workers have had to live with concern and fear that they have been unemployed due to this crisis.
In my case, I was and continue to be affected in a somewhat different way, so I work at McDonald’s, an essential business that continues to operate, taking take out orders only. At the beginning of this crisis, my working hours decreased the first week, but later my hours and schedule continued to be as usual. I was hoping that McDonald’s would close the store as other companies did and that they would still pay us, as they did in many other places. However McDonalds did not, and if I were to decide not to work during the pandemic, I would be paid absolutely nothing, that’s what forced me to remain as an essential worker at my job during the pandemic. To continue working while many stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus has been difficult for me, since I have no other option, and I have expenses to cover like my car insurance, my rent, etcetera. I also have to help my mother to pay the rent and have to save money to pay for my next semester.
When all this crisis started, McDonald’s did not offer masks to their employees until a month later, nor did they pay us extra for working that first month during the pandemic. It was unfair for us as essential workers, since the majority of other essential businesses followed their precautions on time and employees got extra pay for working since this crisis began. On the one hand, I feel sad that I cannot stay at home and avoid contracting the virus, risking myself and my family.
At McDonald’s, I interact with people like my workers and customers, despite the precautions that were made. I also feel grateful to God for not having lost my job during this pandemic. I don’t know how my life would be right now, because I would be worried about not having a check to survive and cover my expenses. This pandemic has taught me to value what I have, my family, my work, my friends, because although I only spend my time working and doing homework, I still get bored, sometimes I need to get distracted and take a break. Again, I am always busy with school and work and my homework that, in my free time, I prefer to take a nap and rest.
My only days off are Sundays, I would use to do some activity hanging out with friends or family before this pandemic occurred, and now I miss that, I miss going out for a coffee, chatting with my friends in person, going out to eat somewhere. I think I have learned to value moments of coexistence because video chatting is not the same. Also, I used to complain about going to school. Now I miss going to school and miss my everyday routines like driving, parking my car, going to classes, interacting in class and keeping up-to-date, because now even my body feels different for the same reason that online classes at home make me stay sitting on the bed, or a chair. I have learned that seeing my family well and healthy is what matters the most to me, it does not matter if we eat beans or a simple soup, but having them healthy and united is the most valuable thing in life. Another thing that I have reflected on is that even though I always complain about not having time, being tired, and busy with school and work, it is frustrating.
Still, I have learned that I would rather be like that than being at home without doing nothing, wasting time, and getting bored. However, that made me realize that this is part of life, routines, activities of daily living are what make sense of life, to keep our minds busy, learn and interact and enjoy every moment, no matter if it teaches us either something good or bad. The cases confirmed positive of Covid-19 in the US were increased; apparently, California has had fewer cases than in other states, and that makes me feel hopeful and scary at the same time because there is a chance that it could increase even more.
It turns out that the shelter in place will end until May 30 and it will not be easy to return to our basic life routine, and for everyone’s safety precautions will continue to be taken even if the business reopens. I have a feeling that the rest of the year will continue like this, but I still hope that things will get better and that 2021 will be a new and better year for everyone.
Despite not having been benefited as citizens during this crisis of COVID-19, I thank God for having a home, a job which helps me meet my needs, I thank him for having health and for taking care of my family who also has been affected by this crisis, and they work less than usual, I appreciate having food on my table. I might not have what I want, but I have what it takes to be well, and I’m blessed with it. I don’t know what society would be without technology in this time of crisis. Thanks to it, we can be united; this has allowed us to do so much stuff from home, such as work and school. This pandemic taught us to take care of ourselves, and value what we have, having what is necessary. The year 2020 will be remembered.
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Looking On the Other Side of COVID

By Alvin Jackson , CONTRIBUTOR
Well, here we are on the other side of the pandemic. School is over and your new life has begun. You wish you could have been the curator you planned to be or maybe somewhere in LA doing something else other than continuing life as an essential worker. Are offices even a thing anymore? If I work from home, will I be more inclined to find my own lane and joy outside of the demands of capitalism? Please Read More

I hate capitalism with every fiber of my being. However, the physical demands will be no more. Jobs will require more intellect and less physical function.
As time as goes on you see your mother age and your brother follow in your footsteps while you learn and unlearn centuries of engrained reality. You are now able to work from home while making enough money to survive, support friends, and travel when necessary. Love is not necessarily in the picture at this point, but it’s there, somewhere. Just not where you are. Yet.
On the other side, Donald Trump will have nightmares from getting asked simple questions and handing cold Big Macs to college athletes. What we cannot do on the other side of this is laugh it off.
People need to realize that the government wanted us dead. COVID-19 was no laughing matter. Bodies were getting buried in boxes on Islands in New York. Glad trash bags were used to protect nurses from a killer disease. The federal government took shipments of masks ordered by states that got them on their own, in order to hand them over to third-party sellers. We were told to drink bleach. Furthermore, the economy collapsed before our eyes with the disappearance of nearly twenty million jobs in two months. I have never lived in a great depression, but now I am here.
Covid-19 took plans away from many people. But it did not take away our motivation and accomplishments. We have a chance to get an entire redo on life. Life before Covid was fake, materialistic, and entirely too demanding.
What I do fear on the other side, is the loss of communication skills. Without face to face human interaction we are unable to learn social ques and basic skills necessary for a healthy functioning society.
How will we be able to communicate with the use of our full faces?
How will we be able to live with expressing ourselves through dance or performance?
I graduated college during Covid with nothing to look forward to because I no longer know life outside of a pandemic.
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Routines and a New Normal

By Sean Serrano , CONTRIBUTOR
Normal to me was waking up to several alarms to get up by 8 am. It was making a quick breakfast, shower, and get out of the house by 9 am to make sure I had parking in Lot A. I would get out of my car by 9:30 am so that I had time to get some coffee from the ASI office and still be early for Dr. Cardaras’ 10 am Journalism and Social Justice class. We were learning about the similarities in the Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas cases. Dr. C. ended the class by mentioning that our next class would be about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please Read More

I usually ate my prepped lunch or bought lunch on campus before finishing some homework in the upstairs Old Union. This usually took the whole gap from Dr. C’s to Nolan Higdon’s Communication Theories class. I would usually go to the Recreation and Wellness Center, or RAW, and clock in for my shift. I would end my nights on campus around 8 or 9 pm, go home, eat, do homework and repeat the next day.
My Saturday’s were spent taking BART rides to and from San Francisco so I could be one of the camera operators for the PAC-12 network. Sundays would be my days off for video games and for a more energetic social life beyond school and work.
One of the last memories I have of being a “normal” student was having a class discussion in Dr. Higdon’s class. March 9, 2020, between 2 pm and 3:40 pm, was about the Media Ecology Theory. It was about how the medium is the message and while everyone’s experience with the medium could be different, it is a message, regardless. Nolan showed a Buzzfeed article that only college students in the 90s would understand. We spent a few minutes talking about what we would need to survive 30 years from today.
Someone briefly commented, “Not in-person teachers.” Dr. Higdon asked them to explain and they said they believed that technology will advance to where we could do almost anything and everything at home. Another person mentioned how anyone could work from home if they wanted to. This was the last class discussion of this school year.
Later that night I tweeted out “God, I’ve seen what you’ve done for SF State and SJSU after seeing that their in-person classes were suspended.” The number of positive cases for COVID-19 has multiplied daily over the last month to the point that now we were in a state of emergency.
The next day I added to my Twitter thread with a petition to suspend East Bay’s in person classes. I got my wish by 6 pm. Classes weren’t going to be starting until the next week. I had the freedom to do anything I wanted for at least the rest of this week before I buckled down for the rest of the semester.
What I didn’t know was that I would be buckled down in my room for at least the rest of the semester. Shelter-at-home orders in the Bay Area were effective March 17 and were the first stay-at-home order in the United States, followed, two days later, by Governor Newsom ordering the rest of California to effectively social distance from home.
I was starting to get emails from my jobs within the next few days. The RAW would be closed as long as in-person classes were suspended and all PAC-12 events would be cancelled. Days started to blend. If it was before today, it was yesterday. I don’t know what day it happened or what day of the week it was. The only bit of reference was from my Snapchat memories and from school-related things.
I have been trying to assemble somewhat of a structure to my day so that I can stay productive. I have been able to continue to work from home for a decent amount of hours a week. The RAW has been trying to promote social distancing while still being social by holding different events from home. Whether it was doing trivia over Zoom, posting home exercise videos, or interactive Instagram stories, it gave my days some variety in my daily routine.
Something I saw coming was my lack of motivation towards school when in-person classes were suspended. Being able to do these last assignments for school has taken a lot. I miss being able to do my homework at the Library. It gave me a place where my brain knew I was there to do school work.
Doing class work, working for the RAW, and sleeping in the same house has been hard for me mentally. This is different from the usually April-itis I have towards school. The hot weather would remind me that summer was coming. Only a few more weeks until freedom.
Although there have been a lot of negative things associated with staying at home, I have been able to gather a few positives from this pandemic. I have had a greater appreciation for small things. Although I had thought I was already appreciative, I didn’t have the slightest clue of what else I was not being appreciative of.
Society has made things so fast paced that going viral is only a day long phenomenon. You’re celebrated one day and forgotten the next. You weren’t able to enjoy things for as long as you used to. Now we are sitting on our phones looking at the memories of things we did in the past or watching reruns of sports events on television. We just want to be able to live through those moments again.
I have had some time to do self-reflection. I’ve never been granted such an extended period of time to think about my current self and future self. It’s been eye-opening to be stuck in the same house every day for a couple months, against your will. I have strengthened some friendships. I have constantly checked up on a few of my friends that I would not have had the chance to spend a good chunk of my day speaking to. I live in Hayward, but all of my friends live in Sacramento, so we aren’t always able to have those face to face encounters. Now, my friends and I constantly talk to each other and play video games to make the days pass by faster.
This epidemic has been an extended inhale before the long exhale of life resumes. How does life looks beyond this? I have no clue. The new normal is going to be weird. But the lessons and clarity that I have gained from having a pause from life, will be carried with me beyond the removal of plastic barriers in front of grocery store clerks.
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Losing a Grandmother During the Pandemic

By Robert Andalon , CONTRIBUTOR
I’m not one to back down from a challenge. No matter the circumstances, the best I can do is try. And these are trying times! There were a few moments when I questioned everything. My grandma’s passing left my family full of intense emotions and without the capacity to hold a proper funeral. Transitioning to an online infrastructure for my education has worked in my favor, but for my major I believe it’s better to learn in person. Quarantine has surely put my relationship of almost three years to the test. The last challenge was figuring out how I was going to pay my bills.Please Read More

The lockdown started around mid-March. All my classes were online. My job, working at a bakery cafe, had closed. I enjoyed staying home and having more time to myself. I consider myself an introvert, so I was thriving, actually. My family and I were taking quarantine pretty seriously.
At the time, my grandma was very vulnerable. I was making sure to wipe down all of the high contact areas like door knobs, handles, chairs etc. I wasn’t having any friends over because we didn’t want to risk my grandma getting sicker. As we were doing our best for my grandma, she was still having a hard time eating and moving. She wasn’t living comfortably. It seems every day we would ask her, “Grandma, sientes bien?” She’d reassure us with, “Si, estoy bien. No preocupes.” Still, I could sense she didn’t feel what she said.
Since I was able to stay home, I watched over her a lot. Sometimes she would just sit up in her bed. I would ask if she wanted to watch TV, or read and she would say no. I didn’t see her smile for such a long time. The pain came from a bile bag she had connected to her stomach. Because of that, my grandma had no appetite. It was very frustrating.
My mom and I were doing our best to feed my grandma. We just wanted her to get her nutrients. We would buy my grandma her favorite foods like Subway sandwiches, wonton soup, and fruits like mangos and pineapples. We bought her meal shakes so that she could get more nutrients that way. Every morning we would serve her breakfast of either eggs, pancakes, or oatmeal. It upset us because eighty percent of the food ended up being thrown out. My grandma was trying to eat, but I think she just wasn’t feeling it. Since she wasn’t eating, my grandma was weak. She could still walk, get up on her own, and lift some things.
On March 19th my grandma could not get up on her own anymore. My grandma claimed to be dizzy and the part of her stomach where the bile bag was connected was hurting. We were very worried so we called the ambulance and they took my grandma to St. Joseph’s Hospital. But we couldn’t go and visit her because of the lockdown, which, I thought, was really unfair, but I understood.
My grandma didn’t like to be alone in the hospital. In prior hospital trips, my grandma always had someone stay with her through the night. Now she had to be alone. She called us up and said she felt better, but the doctor told us her organs were beginning to fail from malnutrition. We were in a stalemate. It seemed that anytime she made progress, we took a step back and ended up where we were at the start. They proceeded with giving my grandma dialysis and keeping her in the hospital. We didn’t get to see her at all for a week.
It was on Thursday, March 26 when my mom received a call about the procedure they were going do on my grandma and if it was successful she would be home by the next week. Unfortunately, that night, the procedure wasn’t successful. My grandma lost too much blood. Being a very religious Jehovah’s Witness, she was unwilling to accept any blood transfusions. We respected her wishes. My whole family rushed to the hospital. We were able to see her, two at a time, while she was in ICU. The doctor gave her until 7 a.m. the next day. She passed at 5:46 a.m. on March 27, 2020.
I’m lucky I was able to thank her and tell her I loved her one last time. I also told her that she won’t be able to see the first in our family to graduate college. But I know she’ll be with me always.
I don’t want this whole thing to be about my grandma’s passing, but sometimes it was the worst and best timing for her to pass. It was the worst because we couldn’t see her until she was literally dying. For that last week we were unable to visit her in the hospital. Also, after the fact, we can’t have a proper memorial. Funerals are being limited to ten people, and that’s not even enough to get her children there. It was the worst because with her gone, we have less people to contribute to our rent, which means I had to get a new job.
On the bright side, I was able to mourn and cope with my family. My mom and I are closer than ever! She told me about all the guilt she had and how she felt. I told her that I felt I could have tried more. I cried so much that I am not able to write this paper without tearing up. I also received a lot of support from friends, acquaintances and long distance family members through Instagram and Snapchat. With so much time to grieve, I am just happy that my grandma is able to rest and be pain free. Thankfully, quarantine gave me a lot of time to give myself closure, and be there for my mom and sisters.
The next challenge I face is school and job security. In February, I was having car issues that persisted throughout March. I remember I was hoping that they would cancel school because I didn’t have a car. My insurance was taking so long on reimbursing me for my last car. I impulsively bought a car the weekend of March 7. I just wanted to get to work and school on my own, but both school and my job were shut down the following week. I was upset because, if I had waited, I could have invested in a better car. But it’s okay, because I didn’t know!
Since school ended I was pretty excited. I was happy, since I was a commuter I didn’t have to drive! In total, I probably spent close to ten hours every week on the road. But since I didn’t have to be at school, I didn’t have to lose that time. Of course the downside is the quality in education and losing connection with some new friends. But things changed drastically when my grandma passed. My mom, my grandma, and I used to split the cost of our rent. Now, I took up my grandma’s share. So once my bakery cafe job shut down, I was concerned.
I have a little bit of savings, but only enough to last me a few months. I applied to so many jobs, ones that I was both over and under qualified for. I was trying to land any job. I applied for Burlington’s coat factory, Kelly’s car wash, Safeway, and I even reapplied to my former job at Amazon’s warehouse.
The Amazon job was a sure win, but my start date wasn’t until April 9. So that means I would go almost a whole month without working. Businesses have been shutting down so it looked more and more likely that I’d go back to Amazon. What made me feel better about it was that I know five other people who applied to Amazon at the same time as me. So many people are in need of a job and many are turning to Amazon. Even my mom ended up leaving her old job to work at Amazon’s warehouse.
Amazon is offering a pay raise for the duration of the crises and making all overtime pay into double time pay. Many in need are flocking to Amazon to pay their bills. With so many people applying for unemployment, it would be too risky to rely on that. Another thing to consider was that I had to choose a schedule at Amazon that would fit well with my class schedule. Even though I don’t have to be at school, I still have to be on Zoom. So I chose a Thursday through Sunday schedule. I would have to sacrifice some of my class time in favor for working.
Thankfully, my professors are very understanding. As long as I was able to communicate with them to get assignments done, they didn’t have a problem. Also, it has been a real learning experience for me. I have never worked FULL time while also being a FULL time student. It’s been a struggle realigning my priorities, because, normally, school comes before EVERYTHING. At the same time, I don’t want to be homeless, so it seems school is going to have to take a backseat, at least for now. Luckily, this is only temporary. I want to be able to put a hundred percent of my attention into my education.
The last thing I had to adapt to was my relationship with my girlfriend. Since school was online and we both had a lot of free time, I thought I was going be able to see her more. But I have only seen her twice since the lockdown. Once was when my grandma passed and the other time was for my birthday on April 28th. I was offended that she wouldn’t let me see her. She made it seem like she didn’t want to see me. With all of these rules her parents were giving her I was upset. I felt like she was just putting them before me. It’s not like I was asking her to go outside and get CORONA. I was upset, I was under a lot of stress. At this time I felt really emotional and lonely. I felt like being with her would have taken my mind off of things. But I thought about my grandma’s passing, how much she meant to me and how much I miss her. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that, especially if it could be prevented!
My girl lives with both of her grandparents, so once I thought of that I was no longer upset. Her grandparents are very much at risk, because they are well into their 80s and 90s. So, we decided to Facetime. It’s an easy solution. I felt dumb for being mad in the first place. We Facetime now twice a week, which gives me a chance to see her and talk to her. Although I’d rather see her in person, I am happy for what I can get. I was really happy we were able to get over this quarantine rough patch.
Looking back at it, the beginning of 2020 has been a big challenge. There were times when I felt like just giving up. I felt like there was no point in trying. One thing I have, that can’t be broken, is hope. It might sound cheesy, but when I feel like everything in life is bringing me down and trying to take me out, the one thing life can’t take from me is hope. It’s all I have, because things won’t be this bad forever. I have hope that everything will get better, and we will be able to live again. Even if it won’t be the same, it’s okay, because it’ll be another challenge for us to be tougher people.
For me, things are already on the way up. I could let myself waste away in quarantine. My life would then amount to nothing, but that’s not what I want. Limits are meant to be broken, and I will strive for my goals even within the walls of my apartment.
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Sick and Tired

By Jeremy Truesdell , CONTRIBUTOR
I am sick and tired. I am sick and tired of my house. I am sick and tired of my room. I am sick and tired of my desk. But most of all, I am sick and tired of this pandemic!
School had been going perfectly before all of this went down, but as soon as it did, my workload skyrocketed. Before long, I could feel my self-motivation plummeting. Amongst the monotony of this antisocial existence, my only real escape has been my gunsmithing hobby, my work at the Hayward Airport, and video games where I can interact with other players. Please Read More

All of my other hobbies are currently impossible with social distancing. As for schoolwork, I had grown accustomed to being able to study in many locations (such as restaurants, cafes, libraries, etc.), but now, I am constrained to studying at home or between my duties on the job.
Among all the stress and gloominess of the pandemic, however, there has definitely been a silver lining. My commute has been cut in half. I have had more time to PT for my future career in the United States Marine Corps, and to accumulate more hours as a student pilot.
I have also seen more families out and about using the local parks to escape their solitude at home. Simultaneously, I have observed that more and more people are joining together to pull through this crisis, with many people manufacturing PPE for frontline medical workers and essential workers to keep them safe, and other acts of charity. It is also my observation that people are treating each other better, in general, with numerous tiny acts of kindness.
All of this said, I do fear for the future of our nation. When I look at the people protesting the lockdowns, where others see ignorance and selfishness, I see valid fears, such as out-of-work parents questioning how they are supposed to support their families with no income, small business owners helplessly watching their life’s efforts crumble down around them and having to lay off employees. While I absolutely see the necessity of “flattening the curve” in order to allow hospitals to cope with the victims of the pandemic, I also see the shadow of devastation that is falling on this country and others across the world.
All the while, the political divide seems to be ever widening, with the tug between security and liberty continuing to tug at Old Glory’s seams. At this point, though, I am reminded of the words of Johnny Cash who said in a 1974 poem, “Ragged Old Flag” reminding us, “she’s been through the fire before, and I believe she can take a whole lot more.”
I would say to my fellow students and citizens that it is perfectly normal and understandable to be scared. I am, as an aviation sector employee, blessed to have a stable job that keeps me employed under the National Defense Strategy. I am blessed to have a family that is still employed. But I do hear the valid fears about the hardships ahead. I feel the stress of this existence. I see the pain that many families are enduring.
I also sense a damned bright future. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even though we may not know if what we see is indeed the exit. Or another oncoming train. It is there.
Borther and brothers and sisters and keep your chins up. We will rise again, so help me God.
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Deep Reflection and Self Care in the Age of COVID

By Alicia Aceves , CONTRIBUTOR
Almost four million cases worldwide. Two hundred and seventy-four thousand deaths. Families are separated. Healthcare and grocery store workers are on the front lines, risking their chances for exposure daily, and crying out for better protection. Trips, graduation ceremonies, holidays, proms, all cancelled. Confined in homes, either in solitude or surrounded by the noises coming from all of the family members confined with you. So much darkness going on in the world right now. Please Read More

I do not prefer to stay in darkness. Instead, I grab hold of a silver lining and work to make it bright. Shelter-in-place does not have to be a time of loneliness and fear. Instead, I am taking advantage of a rare gift that many of us are blessed with right now: time.
Prior to shelter-in-place, I was bordering on having somewhat of a mental breakdown. This is my first semester back at a university since 2017, when I stepped away from school to focus on figuring out what path I was on. Once I discovered the direction I wanted to head, I changed schools and came to East Bay seeking a fresh start.
I work full time as an assistant manager at a hotel, in addition to attending school full-time, but my head was in the game. I wanted my degree, and I was going to work as hard as I could to get it. I fell in love with the classes, my professors, and the atmosphere at East Bay, but I was beginning to become overwhelmed. Midterms were just around the corner, and I felt like there just wasn’t enough time during the day to do everything I needed to do. I promised myself that if I just get through this semester, I will lighten either my work or my school load for the remainder of my time until graduation. I needed to keep my mental health a priority. I missed having a day off, and I cried to my friends and family that I just wanted one day to myself. One day to not have anything to do or anywhere to be.
Less than one week later, that’s exactly what I got. Except not just one day. Multiple days, which turned into a month, and then another. My job grew slower and slower, and for a brief moment, I suddenly had nothing, but time on my hands. Then, my younger siblings were released from school as well, and then I became both a student and a teacher, regulating schedules between all of our Zoom classes, balancing my homework load, and helping them get through theirs.
My parents then joined the confinement. Now, five people are adapting to moving around each other, maintaining lives both together and separate, forced to learn how to coexist with each other all day and every day. Some days for us are entertaining. Others are challenging. They consist of long Scrabble games, binge-watching TV shows, and spending the warmer days in our backyard. As a family, we’ve managed to make the most of it.
I miss my daily life. I miss my friends, my grandparents, and the rest of my family. I miss seeing the barista at Starbucks that I used to see every day, or making conversation with people in restaurants, or dancing with my friends at local bars. The writer in me misses people-watching, gazing at someone go about their business and wondering what their story is. I miss turning on the news and not hearing about more death and dying in the world.
However, with that said, I am absolutely thriving as I shelter-in-place. I have exercised more now than ever before. I’ve begun journaling daily. I’ve focused on bettering my writing in the hopes of one day becoming an author. I spend hours learning new things on the internet, like perfecting a skincare routine, or what kinds of vitamins I should be taking at the ripe old age of 25. I don’t wear a spot of make-up and my hair is air-dried every time it is washed, which is uncharacteristic of someone who hasn’t gone out in public without make-up or her hair curled since 2012.
I’ve reflected on the type of person I have become and discovered, much to my immense disappointment, that somewhere in the past year, I stopped being comfortable in my own skin. I’ve been constantly on the go for so long that I didn’t even notice the day that I no longer liked who I saw in the mirror. Now, I am comfortable again. I feel confident with my bare-faced skin and my natural hair. I am thrilled that I finally developed a workout routine that I was too busy to do before, and I feel better after I do it. I remembered how to be happy again, without even realizing that I had forgotten.
Watching the news has made me be proud to be a Californian. Governor Gavin Newsom has received quite a bit of push back from people, but I personally believe that he has handled everything very well. Our county and our state cares about us, even if our federal government may not. I feel safe living in this state, as opposed to states like Georgia, and I think Governor Newsom has the people’s best interests at heart. I am worried for others, specifically elderly people and those who have health issues, because there are those frustrating people who are not taking this seriously. I hope that people will be careful enough to prevent any further spread once we reopen our state.
I do have some fear. I am worried for a surge of the pandemic when we re-open up. I am worried for my grandparents, my family, and anyone else more at-risk, if exposed. I am angry at those who don’t take things seriously, stubbornly refusing to follow rules because it is their so-called constitutional right. This is my issue with this country, an issue that has always been present, but became really apparent four years ago. Everyone only worries about themselves. It’s all about “my rights, my wants, my needs.” It’s never about your neighbor, or your neighbor’s parents, or your neighbor’s parents’ friends.
We don’t spend enough time caring for each other, when that’s exactly what we should be doing. I may be spending my time during S.I.P. reflecting on my own personal life, but I am paying attention to others. I am doing my part by staying home and social distancing, not because I am worried I will be infected, but because I don’t want to be a carrier. I don’t want to endanger the elderly man next to me at the grocery store, or my mom who drops off food to my grandma, or my colleagues, who go home to their families. I stay home for others, not for myself. As for essential workers, I am grateful for every single one of them who has fought through this pandemic with their head held high. You are why we stay home.
I wake up every morning, still shocked by what we are experiencing. I can barely remember what it was like to casually be standing less than six feet away from someone. We are living in historic and tragic times. Decades from now we will be talking about this odd, unprecedented time, remembering it with our friends and telling it to our children. Our appreciation for intimacy and normalcy will be magnified by the end of this. I am a firm believer in making the best out of a terrible situation, and that’s what I have done and will continue to do, and I encourage everyone to use this time for deep reflection and self-awareness.
Trust me. It does wonders for the soul. I don’t think anyone will be coming out of this experience the same person they were. I definitely won’t be. I’ll be coming out better than I was before.
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Contemplating Life With COVID’s Pros and Cons

By Luis Martinez , CONTRIBUTOR
Covid-19 is a killer virus that took the world by storm. This the first time in modern history where we have been affected by something of this magnitude. It is the first time in my 22 years of existence that we have a virus, which has affected us to the point where we have to stay home until the state of California says it safe to go out. We have watched local businesses struggling to survive, watched people go crazy for hand sanitizer and toilet paper like that’s going to kill the virus and we are forced to wear a mask when we go out. The craziest part is we do not even have a cure for COVID.Please Read More

I’m here stuck at home, not going to work, my education is online and, most days now, I feel the same as I did the day before. Before quarantine, I had a life and a social life. I’d go to school two times a week and go to work most other days and spend time with my friends and managed to work on myself, too. Due to Covid-19, all is paused and that is something I’m still getting used to. It is not all bad. Just like in everything in life, there are pros and cons to it.
First, the positives. I now am able to spend more time with my family. I am able to relax more, rather than constantly feeling stressed out and exhausted. I get to smell the roses and slow my roll with things.
The cons. I cannot really see my friends like I used to. Since my classes are online it’s even easier to fall behind and slack off on my school work. My sleep schedule is messed up and it feels like every day is repetitive. I lose track of what day it is. I try to make the best of it by getting some sun and thinking of things to look forward to. I am trying to be positive about it because it is not going to be like this forever. So that’s my approach to this pandemic.
The frenzy at the stores are insane to see and experience first-hand. It was the week of March 23-28th when I went to multiple stores with my mother. We saw parking lots packed and stores with empty shelves where things such as paper towels and toilet paper are sold out. It showed how much the people were panicking. If you go to Costco you have to wait in line to get in and they are only letting a certain amount of people in at a time. So you have to be patient to get your stuff.
My job was paying us to stay at home, but that was for a month and then I went back to regular hours. This is irritating and annoying because we aren’t essential workers. Honestly, my job can be done online and I just work for a greedy company that cares more about money rather than their employees. They were only giving us 14 hours, paid, per week. I mean it’s cool I was getting paid to stay home, but still, it just shows how greedy and how much they don’t care for their employees. Overall, my health is more important than being at work and these employers don’t care about you cause once you die, they’ll replace you and that’s the truth. Honestly, I’m fed up with Covid-19 and constantly hearing about it in the media and being cooped up in the house.
My work ethic and my motivation to do school work has really been affected since the transition to online. It is way easier now to put something off. I tend to push things back, but it’s never gotten to this level. It is now to the point where I ignore it until the last minute. There’s a difference between doing an assignment at the last minute and just finding out you have an assignment due in a couple hours because you didn’t know. Overall, this online schooling isn’t for me. I already like to push things, but now it is to the point where I am forgetting I’m in school.
How is this outbreak being handled on a statewide and local level?
Honestly, California is doing an amazing job and I am saluting our Governor for doing a great job of handling this pandemic. Because of him, we are practicing social distancing, wearing masks when we go out, and getting free health tests. This man is a man of the people. He could have easily let Corona rates spike up even more, but here we are taking our time and following the science. There are those people complaining because they cannot get a haircut or go eat in a restaurant or go to a beach. It is what it is. My bad Super Cut isn’t open and I’ll just have to deal with it. On a local level, the city of Pittsburg has been doing a good job on just maintaining order and also on making sure everyone is wearing their masks and that people are following the health protocols. No complaints here.
If you compare us to other countries, well, it’s shit. Twelve hundred dollars? First of all, $1200 is not the same all over the United States. Twelve hundred in California is nothing compared to $1200 in a midwestern state. It also shows the lack of importance for our people who are undocumented and who are still working in the fields to provide food for the stores. The U.S government was not prepared for this at all. It’s a joke. Shows that there’s so much wrong with the country. We should have been prepared or had some sort of plan.
I am a part of history with millions of other Americans and millions more across the globe. We are all forced to stop what we were doing and stay at home for our own safety. Not everyone’s experience is the same, but we are all people. I am an optimistic and realistic person. I see that this will be over and we will all be able to move forward and adapt to a new life, but this isn’t going to happen any time soon. At the end of the day, we’ll get through this. It won’t be like this forever. Things will get better. It’s a process that will take time. We just need to be patient and have hope.
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From College Student to Home School Teacher

By Prema White , CONTRIBUTOR
Hand hygiene has become a top priority in my household. My hands have become so dry and cracked from all the hand washing I have done to keep me and my family safe.
I live with my oldest brother and his family in order to attend East Bay. My hometown is actually Reno, Nevada. My brother has two children, age 2 and 4 years old, whom I look after when I am not in school or working on the weekends.Please Read More

The Covid pandemic has changed my life drastically. I was a full time student attending classes from 10 am to 10 pm on some days. I was also a part time barista at a local Starbucks. I had a normal student-life routine before the stay at home order was enacted. I attended lectures, went to study groups, studied at cafes, hung out with my friends at movie theaters, went on late night Target runs, and attended family birthday parties. Now all of my classes are online, I make homemade coffee, I video chat almost every day for meetings or family time with my parents, I barely see any of my friends and relatives, and don’t get me started on how difficult it is to go grocery shopping! I have only gone twice and those will probably be the only times I go.
I stopped attending school physically on March 11, 2020 and the last day I went to work was March 12, 2020. There have been many difficult moments where I thought I was losing my mind with all the news about Covid-19 and the stress of being cooped up in a house 24/7, but through all of the stress and anxiety, there are some better moments.
When the stay at home order took place, I assumed the role of teacher for my niece and nephew. In the beginning it was hard because, well, I’m not a teacher and I had to make sure they were getting the education they need to progress in their cognitive learning and motor skills. I went all out in becoming the best teacher I could be for them.
My nephew has a Zoom class every morning, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 10:30 am, and he has worksheets that he has to complete for school. His younger sister does the same worksheets with him just to keep her occupied. She, honestly, enjoys them and does a fantastic job as well (possibly even better than her older brother sometimes).
I am in awe of these kids every single day. They bring so much joy, especially during these times. On top of their curriculum the school provides, I created number and ABC flashcards, dry erase workbooks, chore worksheets and menus for each of them so they have a variety to eat instead of the same things all the time.
What I love the most about this is that I am able to spend quality time with them while also making it fun and educational. Also, since the weather has warmed up we have been spending most of our time outdoors, exploring all the little creatures that travel into our backyard and playing with water. What child doesn’t love water? It’s my go-to distraction when they don’t get along. Although the world around us has become odd and chaotic, I am happy being with them.
Another moment I cherish is that I am able to spend time with my family. We have been very productive in quarantine. We cleaned every room in the house and organized every nook and cranny you could think of. My brother’s house plant addiction is now a household addiction. Every corner of the house has a plant and I am not complaining. We have picnics in the backyard and movie nights on the projector. We are able to do the things we have always wanted to do because now we have the time to do them.
When this is all over and we return to whatever our next normal will be, I will remember these moments and cherish them for a lifetime.
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A Silver Lining in Dark Times

By Matthew Luna , CONTRIBUTOR
It was Wednesday March 11th. I showed up at school and I was the first person for my noon class in Meiklejohn Hall. I sat there for about 15 minutes in silence until I realized class should have already started. I got an email saying class was cancelled. I left class and walked through a dead, eerie campus back to my car. This Corona virus was a serious situation.Please Read More

I didn’t actually expect classes to be moved to online because I figured COVID-19 wasn’t all that people were saying it was. I was happy that I would be able to be in the comfort of my home with my family, but then I was also very concerned because I didn’t know what the rest of the school year and the rest of 2020 would look like.
Thursday, March 19th was when shelter in place took effect for all of California. This meant my weekend job working as a florist assistant for weddings would stop. Thank God I never moved out on my own or moved to a different state because without my family to have my back, I have no idea how bad this pandemic would have been for me.
This experience has taught me to realize, more than ever, how much I appreciate my family. Not that I have ever taken my family for granted, but I found a deeper appreciation for my family because I don’t know where I would be without them.
The bigger picture is that I have been reminded that life is very fragile and delicate. We have one life and we need to live it to the fullest, now, while taking the proper precautions.
Saturday March 14th, was when my family and I took the day to go get some supplies for during shelter in place. I live in the East Bay area and all the stores that we went to had little to nothing left— toilet paper, Clorox wipes. We decided to drive to Napa and make a small road trip out of our quest to find toilet paper, which seemed just as valuable as gold. We ran into a Walmart where they had more than enough for us and our extended family. So just like everyone else, we hoarded two full carts and brought our catch of the day home and to another family, who had trouble finding toilet paper as well. It was a funny experience.
COVID-19 hasn’t been too bad for my family, however, it took my father’s job from him because his company laid off many employees. Despite that, it has been nice to spend more time with him because, normally, he is either working or catching up on his sleep, so we never really got to spend as much time with him as we do now. So there have been both positives and equal amounts of negatives during this pandemic.
My mother is an assistant principal. She now works at home. My younger sister, a freshman in high school, just does her homework at home and says that she misses her friends.
Aside from my family, I can’t imagine how hard it must be for those who are fighting for the lives of others in hospitals. I applaud all of those who work in the medical field for their bravery and passion to help the people of the Bay Area.
I have done some serious self-reflection about my life, thinking how blessed I truly am to be safe and have a roof over my head and food on the table during this pandemic. I am the person who always sees the glass as half full and this experience, for me, has just completely cemented my mindset to continue seeing the good in every situation or hardship that comes my way in life.
I miss being in class. I miss seeing my classmates and friends. I don’t think I will miss all these assignments, but I appreciate them for keeping my head on somewhat straight during this crazy time. Zoom classes have been great to be able to talk to someone outside of my home.
I believe the government has done a decent job in helping us prepare for the worst. I do, however, feel there could have been an earlier alarm on what was happening in China before the virus hit the U.S. I’m not mad, but it does make me a little frustrated about this whole mess that has basically shut down the planet for almost three months now.
I heard that some hotels were arranging to host many homeless people and get them off the street to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. My heart goes out to them because last December I lost an Uncle to drug addiction. He was homeless. I ran into him while Christmas shopping in the city. He didn’t recognize me because his brain was so fried from his addiction. He left us before this crazy scary pandemic came and I am somewhat happy he doesn’t have to live through this because the homeless are some of the most vulnerable to it, living on the street and in parks with no roof over their heads. So I am happy that the homeless are finally getting some aid during this tragic time. They are usually overlooked and left to die.
On a lighter note, our planet’s environment has been thriving. The air, especially in the Bay Area, has been more clean than I have ever seen it in the 21 years that I have lived here! Even fish and sea animals are thriving from less polluted water. Overall, I feel that COVID-19 has been a great reset button for the environment because we have been burning this planet with our evil ways and disregard for it.
I miss sports the most. I know I am not alone on this one. I miss watching the Golden State warriors play (even though this year they are not as good), but I miss that team. I miss living our normal lives. I can’t wait to get back out there. To life.
I hope you can take some time for your own self-reflection and how this pandemic has strengthened you as the great human being that you are. We are all in this together.
Go Pioneers! Be safe! Be Great!
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Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Personal Reflection

By Kelsey Marasigan , CONTRIBUTOR
I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to write this paper. I couldn’t focus on any one topic that I thought would be compelling enough for anyone to read. I kept trying to write for the future reader of this essay instead of writing for myself. So I’m writing this essay as a letter to my future self. Which I’ll hopefully be rereading months, or even years, after this is over to remind me who I was and who I became. So,…
Please Read More

Dear Kelsey,
I hope you’re reading this while you’re outside. My hope is that you’re reading this on a warm day, the sun shines on you while you sit next to your vegetable garden, and you’re taking a moment to reflect. With any luck, you should be twenty pounds lighter than you were in 2020 and enjoying the life you’re living right now. If I’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that you have to be your first priority. Take the time to listen to your body and get out of your own head. The only way to do that is to make yourself present in the moment. Remember the final episode of Midnight Gospel? Focus on what your hands feel like on the inside. Be present, and don’t let your anxiety get the better of you.
I say these things as if I’m not completely confident that you’re going to be able to handle your emotions or live in the moment. I know you’ll get there eventually if you’re not there right now, but please don’t be mad at me. Just know that you ​will​ get there. If there’s one thing you’ve proved to yourself time and time again, it’s that you will get things done. That’s something I’ve always admired about you that I probably should be telling you more often. You deserve to be happy. And remember, you don’t have to compare your place in life to where others are in theirs. From the wise words of your mother, “You are in the exact place you are meant to be right now. Don’t worry too much.” Listen to me, take your time when you’re hurting, or when you’re depressed. There’s no right way to go through life. So take your time.
Right now, I’m trying to deal with the grief of losing our grandpa. I always find myself forgetting that he’s not there with grandma anymore. Then that quick moment when I realize he’s not there hurts my heart all over again. It’s really hard not being there with her. I hope you get to be there for her at least. I’ve got to think positive about this. One thing that does make me happy though, is the type of love they had for each other. I hope you feel that type of love.
I’m excited to see the person reading this time. As I close up this letter, I want to remind you of a few things: take care of yourself, physically and mentally, be present in the moment, go at your own pace with things, and for the love of god please stop talking yourself into cutting your own bangs.
Take care, and take your time.
Quarantine Diary – Kelsey Marasigan
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
This is now officially day 2 of my self quarantine. It’s been really hard. I can’t really find a good space to do any of the school work because I keep getting distracted or I’m just not in the right headspace. This also hasn’t been very good for my mental health. I don’t like being home all day for numerous days. I want to be spending this time with my partner in his apartment in Los Angeles because that is a good space for me to relax, do any homework, be creative and just spend my time the way I want to spend it without any outside factors affecting my mood. This is kinda hard to explain without going into full details about my life at home and the destruction my parents and their relationship have had on me and my siblings, but the fact that none of us want to be quarantined at home with my parents says a lot. I find it impossible to think about schoolwork or focus on anything. Since being home I haven’t even wanted to talk to anyone, including my partner over FaceTime. It’s difficult watching the news when my parents have it on and it’s hard reading about the virus on Twitter. Not to mention the Democratic primaries going on right now and how hundreds of people are having a terrible time trying to get their vote counted. I need Bernie to get through the primaries and I need him to beat Trump. I can’t even begin to imagine a future with Bernie not in the White House. If anything, I feel like this virus should be a wake up call to all Americans that healthcare is a human right and that capitalism has destroyed our country. People are so greedy, buying out all the toilet paper and diapers and leaving nothing for those people who can’t afford that much or even get to the stores quick enough. Where is the human decency? Does no one care for each other anymore? Are we all really that selfish? It’s a really scary time because I can’t see myself living in this world or even making it to 30. On the bright side, I was able to finally finish some school work only because I locked myself in my room for about three hours this morning and made myself do it. I’ve felt so guilty for not being productive during this time and it’s eating at me mentally. I just hope I get out of here soon.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Today was the same. I had another class online this afternoon. I don’t know how I feel about online classes. I feel like the workload for school is getting heavier and heavier and I don’t know how much I’ll be able to actually get done. My days have blended together so I can’t really remember what I did this morning and all day today. Right now as I’m writing, I am on a zoom call with my siblings and a few friends for an online game night. We’ve only played one game of Spyfall and it lasted about 5 mins, barely.
Friday, March 20, 2020
Today is my 4 year anniversary with my partner who I didn’t get to see because we’ve been sheltering in place all week and we had to cancel our plans for it. I was a lot more productive today. I gave both of my dogs a bath and I cleaned the bathroom I share with my brother and sister which took hours. My extended family also planned a family zoom session during dinner which was really nice. We got to see all our cousins and the little kids. The whole time we just kept saying “hi” and talking over each other, but it was still nice to see them even over a screen. Social distancing at its finest. After that zoom session most of my siblings got on another zoom session and talked for about an hour. That was nice, too. My baby niece loves putting up her pointer finger to show us how old she is. The weekend is coming up finally, but that means nothing to us now. The week has been going by so slow. I wasn’t on my phone a lot today so I haven’t really heard anything about the virus. It was a nice break in a way. I feel like the constant news about COVID-19 keeps people in a fearful state which causes us to panic and have negative reactions to it. It’s not good to be constantly scared of something unknown.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Another day of doing nothing. Literally. I watched Netflix all day.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
I left my house for the first time in about a week. I had to go to Target to get a few things we needed. I’m dying my hair black. Is it essential? Who knows. All I know is I’m going crazy at home. Shelter in place and depression are not good combos.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
I forgot to journal yesterday, that’s okay though. I got a lot of homework done yesterday so that’s good. Nothing else really happened other than the fact that my parents finally said they were okay with me driving down to LA to be with my partner during the quarantine. So today I drove down to LA! I was extremely safe about it. The drive was barely 5 hours so it was nice. I’m excited to have a break away from my family. Being in the house with them constantly is draining and I really need this time for myself and with my partner.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
I woke up today feeling refreshed. I had a good night last night. First good night in a while. I needed to get away from home. My mental health and my depression was crushing me. I could literally feel how heavy my body was. I could barely get out of bed. Anyway, I woke up feeling refreshed and I got a lot of my homework done this morning. I’m ready for my zoom class later tonight and I know what I have to get done before then. I’m doing my best to stay away from the news and get scared by it. Instead, I’m keeping up to date and reading into any scientific news that is being shared. I don’t like hearing the discourse around the fear of the virus, I just want to be informed and safe without scaring myself into a panic attack.
Monday, April 13, 2020
I haven’t written in a few days. I think almost two weeks. I’ll just catch you up on the past two or three weeks. I’ve been in LA with my partner. It’s just so much better here just the two of us. We’ve been cooking a lot, watching analyzing movies, practicing our knowledge of story structure, homework, video games, just stuff to fill our time. I thought being away from my family would help me feel less depressed all the time but I still felt that same way at times here. The only difference is here I feel supported by my partner and I have much better space to work with myself. This morning however, I found out that my grandpa is being put into hospice. He had to go to the hospital on Wednesday last week because he got an infection and became dehydrated. He’s been going downhill since January, in and out of hospitals, surgeries and rehab centers, but now we’re right here at the end during the worst possible time. I don’t know what’s going to happen as soon as I get the call from my mom or my uncle or grandma saying he finally passed. It can be any day now. Possibly this week. I’m driving back home to the Bay Area this Thursday with my partner because I have a military appointment on Friday, but it must be good timing if my grandpa is going to pass soon. I don’t know if I actually want to be home for that though. I kinda want to stay here in LA where I can deal with it by myself but I know my mom is going to need me. I just don’t know how much I will be able to help her. I can barely help myself. I have to make a lot of choices right now and I don’t know if I’m in the right mindset or even ready to make some decisions, but let’s just do it. I have to just keep moving forward, do and say the things I have to say and get this life over with. It’s kinda weird knowing something tragic is going to happen before it happens. So how does that leave me to feel right now? I have no idea. I feel like I’m sorta feeling in limbo, like I can’t feel anything until I can feel that. My grandpa is one of the sweetest men I had ever known. He was always so loving to me and called me his princess. He used to make us all laugh so hard before his stroke made it difficult for him to talk.
Sunday, April 19, 2020
My grandpa passed away this morning. My other side of my family lives in New Jersey, and it was the middle of the night so they think he passed at around 3:30am east coast time. My sister scheduled a zoom meeting for this morning at 10:30am Pacific time because my uncle was saying he only had a few more days left and that we should say our goodbyes. So all day yesterday I was living with the thought that I was going to talk to my grandpa one last time. I was thinking about it all day, what I would say to him. Here’s what I was planning on saying to him and how I thought our last conversation would’ve gone, I would say “Hi grandpa” and he would say “Hi Kelsey.” Then I would tell him, “I love you so much, grandpa.” And he would then say, “I love you, too, sweetheart.” Then I would tell him that he is the sweetest, most loving man in my life and how eternally grateful I am that he loved me and his family so much. He first showed me what real love was because I could see how much he loves my grandma. And I would make him smile and it would be the perfect goodbye.
Although I know it wouldn’t have gone anything like that, I like to imagine it that way. It kinda helps. I got a call at about 2:15 in the morning from my mom and she told me he passed. So I need to hold onto the goodbye I had with him in my mind, it’s all I’ll ever have. I know it wouldn’t have gone anything like that though since he’s been too weak to talk. Honestly, what would’ve happened was I would tell him I love him and he would give no response and he would be frail in his bed. But at least I would’ve said it to him. I don’t know if it’s better or worse that I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye. We still had the zoom meeting at the set time and we talked for about two hours. My grandma is strong. She told us everything she could without cracking, but I know how she is. She would never show anything she was feeling on the outside. She and my uncle kept blaming COVID for this because even though he didn’t actually have it, the virus was still killing him.
Wednesday, April 22, 2019
I’ve been filling my time now with hours of playing Animal Crossing and experimental cooking. My mornings have been seeing a routine again. I’m on family phone calls every morning, either with my mom, my siblings, or my grandma and that’s usually the most active part of my day, or it seems like at least. After I water my plants while I’m on the phone, I cut myself some fruit for breakfast and make a matcha latte for some caffeine to wake me up. After that usually I do my daily list of duties on my island in Animal Crossing which fills my time however long I can last, usually about an hour or two. Then the rest of my days are filled with cooking random meals that I come up with and watching test kitchen cooking shows. I also like to watch movies and tv shows to practice my knowledge of story structure. It feels like I haven’t been very productive for a long time, but all of this stuff I do throughout the day makes me feel exhausted by the end of it. I guess I don’t have as much energy as I did before. I think this is all I need right now though. I feel like this much activity is just enough for me, too, because it definitely helps with my mental health. When I am productive and have easy fun in Animal Crossing, I then feel motivated in real life to clean the kitchen or take care of myself and personal hygiene.
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Today is my grandpa’s birthday. I had a nice talk with my grandma this morning. Today is really hard for her, though. She sounded really sad on the phone. I like talking to her. She used to always have something to talk about when we would talk on the phone before all this. She would really just go on and on, but she’s been quiet lately. I wanted to wish my grandpa a happy birthday so of course I wanted to tell her, but it sounded like she was going to cry when I did that so I changed the subject quickly. I felt so bad. I tried holding back my tears as best I could. He would be turning 82 today.
Friday, April 24, 2020
I decided I’m going to be going back home in about three weeks. I have to go back into work when the semester ends so I guess it’s a good time to get back home. I think I can handle it. I don’t really know what to do anymore. About anything. I don’t know how to make sense out of any of this but it’s been so long now that it feels almost normal. It’s going to start being a way of life for us and we’re just going to begin to accept it. I feel like that happens a lot now, the media and people in general always get really loud at first when something isn’t right or there’s a reason for outcry and protest, but in a few weeks or so we all just let it go and it drifts off into nothing. I don’t know if that even makes any sense, I’m just trying to figure out my thoughts. One thought in my head is hopelessness. I just feel like I’m always reminded that nothing ever changes. There’s so much wrong in our country and time after time again we are disappointed by our government or big businesses. I want to change so much but I don’t know how. I have no power, how can I possibly make a difference? We grow up getting our heads filled with wonders about the world just to find out it’s all bullshit and then we die. What kind of world is that?
Sunday, April 26, 2020
My older brother and his partner are most likely losing their jobs this month. Randy is my brother, he tends to be a little more dramatic than the rest of us so he facetimed all of us siblings to tell us. This was his dream job, too. He finally got the big promotion in his company (he works for Levi’s) and he was traveling and getting company iPads, laptops, and even a credit card. Literally his dream job, but because of the shutdown Levi’s has been losing billions every month and are starting to lay off higher up employees. He explained this to us in a very serious and dramatic way, but somehow he still had hope in his voice. It was nice to see because I haven’t really heard that in awhile when the virus is brought up in conversation. He was saying that luckily he and his partner have saved up enough to last them at least six months of unemployment and he’s positive he’ll find another job just as good as this one he’s losing because he’s already held an impressive title within a big company. So that’s that. Another thing that’s been on my mind lately has been my 1-year-old niece. She’s walking now and getting so big. I can’t believe I’m missing it. I want to see her so bad. She’s getting so smart! She loves reading books, so sometimes my sister will read her a book while the family is on Facetime so we can all read with her. She’s constantly smiling and laughing and I just miss her so much. I can’t believe I’m missing such a great time of this baby’s life. She’s my baby basically, too. I designated myself the godmother even though my sister jokingly said no.
Monday, April 27, 2020
I tried participating in the Mindful Morning Workshop that one of the departments in school organizes. It was really nice. We had some meditation time, time for stretches and movement, and then a reflection at the end and even some time for journaling. The two girls that were running it were really sweet, too. It was mostly a number of younger college students and then a few older aged women. Everyone was nice and open to the workshop which made it work really well. I’m looking forward to the yoga session on Wednesday. An actual yoga instructor is going to come on and lead the yoga session that day. I’m excited for that because it gets me out of bed at a reasonable hour. I’m really trying to change my mentality lately. I want to start eating healthy again and working out almost everyday. I want to start taking care of myself physically again. I don’t like being depressed all the time and the only way I can get myself out of this is to really put in a full effort. I need to follow through on a plan to get me out of this hole.
Friday, May 1, 2020
Will this never EEEND! California’s Shelter-In-Place order got extended until the end of May now. I’m really thinking we’re going to be missing the entire year. I’m going to have to really start being productive again if it’s really going to last this long. I’ve gotten a lot of work done this past week which I’m proud of. I mean, it’s not as much as I had wanted, but it was what I could do. I cried during a one-on-one zoom meeting with one of my teachers and my final project partner which was pretty embarrassing. They were both really understanding though so I’m not too torn up about it anymore. But I am getting some good work done on my final film for Ryan’s class. I changed my story again. Now I’m telling my family’s story during this as a way to speak to what every family is probably going through as well. I have an outline all planned out and I think it’s actually going to be really good. I’m hoping I can submit it to a few smaller film festivals so I can share my story, and even build upon it after the quarantine, too.
Monday, May 11, 2020
I’m in my last week of the semester! I can’t wait to go home and see my siblings and have a backyard again. I will say I definitely missed it more than I thought I would. I’m glad I made it this far. I’m really liking how my final film is coming out. I can’t wait to get it done, it’s all coming together. Anyway, this is going to be my last diary entry since the assignment is due today. I’ll still document my experiences but through videos and fun memories. So, see ya next time!
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The Heart of a Musician During the Pandemic

By Marinda Avalos , CONTRIBUTOR
March 20, 2020: March 18, 2020
Anxiety comes and goes in waves. Feeling isolated but I know I am not. Contemplated all week on whether or not I should visit my family. I ultimately decided to, although I was weary about it. It’s a terrible feeling. It is scary not knowing who is a carrier. I’m sad. My mom is depressed. I wish things were different. I had two online midterms today.
Please Read More

The counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara issued stay at home orders to all residents. All businesses have shut down, leaving an eerie ghostly feeling on the streets in this unprecedented time. Nerves are high and the news is full of information, some too much to process, and conflicting news coming in left and right. People are scared. I am scared. There is talk of Marshall law happening, the uncertainty of what is going to happen, and the shock is setting in. The threat of Corona virus has been downplayed for the entirety of time that it’s been in the public sphere. People are saying that it is just a common flu, and mass hysteria is running wild. I am a musician and I play live shows at least once a month. My passion is performing, and my band, Bastet, had to drop off of two scheduled shows in Oakland on the weekend of March 14th, after long deliberation. We decided to drop off so that we could be in solidarity with the other performers dropping off, and with the general population whose concern of the virus was growing. These journal entries capture my thoughts for the beginning of quarantine.
March 19, 2020
Today I woke up in a very weird mood. I was feeling silly and experiencing weirdness. I experimented with IG filters. I’ll say it again, I felt weird. I worked on a video for class, Visual and Multimedia Storytelling, and had a Zoom class session at 4:30. I hung out with my housemate at night. I cried. I did yoga in the morning.
March 20, 2020
Day 5 of quarantine, the world is experiencing a pandemic. Corona virus has taken over the globe . This is unprecedented in our lifetime. It’s surreal. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are dying every day around the world. The entire state of California is on shutdown and more states are as well. Italy, France, and all around the world, we are all experiencing this together. The virus originated in China, but Italy now has the highest amount of cases and deaths at this time.
I am worried about my family. My mom, dad, brother, sister, nephew, nieces… everyone. Mental health issues and being exasperated by this global pandemic, the economy is plummeting, and people are lost.
I was up until 4am last night, thinking about everyone, thinking about my personal relationships with people. I have regrets and I wish things were different with so many people I love and care for. I have guilt and sorrow. Thinking about the past makes me sad.
March 21, 2020
I woke up and did homework for my Quantitative Research class. It has always been online. I went to my friend’s house in Daly City, she lives alone. I am the only one she sees and she is 1 of 2 people that I see. We are safe. We worked on visuals for a music project that we have together, had a photo shoot and danced in her bedroom with wigs on. She wore a metal head wig and I wore a beehive wig. Finally I have forgotten about the Coronavirus and I feel happy. The feeling is fleeting.
March 22, 2020
Woke up. Had breakfast with my friend. We ate breakfast and I lifted weights. We went on a walk in McLaren park. Some people were there and I felt like I was dodging zombies the whole time. Such a weird feeling having to be distant from humans. Picked up pizza for dinner and binged watched “Self Made” on Netflix. Today was a good Sunday, considering
March 23, 2020
Monday. Woke up, did some video editing work. I had two online classes today, one of which I was in the bath tub for. That definitely was a first for me. Went to the corner store market again, it was weird to be dodging people like zombies. I wore gloves out but no mask. I want to wear a mask from now on. I worked on my music project more today, it was a good release. Creating art and music is what helps me during these trying times. Tonight dinner was cooked at home. I gave in and watched “Tiger King” on Netflix. Sure it’s an entertaining show, but in reality it is a sad show based on the exploitation of beautiful animals.

By this time the previously mentioned counties are not the only counties in California that must adhere to the mandatory shelter in place order. All 58 counties of the Golden State must now adhere to the shelter in place order. By this time there are 2,500 confirmed cases in the state and the death toll keeps rising.
March 26, 2020
Another day, I got some exercise in jump roping. My friend read some COVID-19 updates that she was getting from her work. It all made me very nervous. I had anxiety and was sweating, I even started to cry. I was feeling very overwhelmed with everything. It is my friend Lexy’s birthday, she turned 27. I wished her happy birthday by sending her a text.

The month of April has brought about some strange times, as it seems people are adapting to this “new normal”. Social distancing is a thing now. People who are not following social distancing guidelines are shunned. My dear friend Edie is living in Paris with her two children, and her husband is working in Zurich and flies back on the weekends. He made it to Paris just in time to be with his family before France closed its borders. It’s interesting to hear how each country is handling this pandemic differently. From the sounds of it, I would not want to be in Paris. Paris, a place I fell in love with, a place where a piece of my heart was left because of the awe inspiring culture and art that surrounds me, a place I long to return to, for I have such pleasant memories there, and felt so at home there, is no longer the same. At this point, Paris has a strict lockdown situation. Anybody who leaves their home can only do so for 1 hour a day. The police are monitoring people and stop people who are outside to make sure they have proper documentation. The only reason they can go outside is to go to the grocery store or exercise for one hour a day. If they don’t have their paperwork filled out, they get fined, and could even go to jail. This sounds like a nightmare situation. This pandemic is hard enough, and being so controlled like that. I just am so grateful things are not that way here. I do wish that the United States was more prepared though. It’s completely disgraceful the way things have played out in this country, and the leadership is just not cutting it. The structural and institutional flaws of this country are really coming to light now due to this pandemic. The rich are the ones who are able to social distance and be comfortable. It is the working class who have to take the brunt of the burden, with limited housing, and are forced to work “essential jobs”, basically being held hostage to make ends meet by exposing themselves to Corona virus daily. A report came out recently that 90% of the people who tested positive for Corona virus in San Francisco were essential workers. By April 11th, the United States has surpassed Italy with the amount of deaths related to Corona virus and New York City has reported more cases than any other country in the world. The U.S. government has issued its first round of stimulus checks to the population, but $1,200 simply is not enough for most people. So many people are experiencing unemployment due to the spread of Corona virus, and many more people are unable to get unemployment benefits, such as sex workers and many independent artists. I am certainly thankful to have a job that will allow me to work from home. I am weary that I do still have to go into my office building from time to time, but I will be safe. I have no choice.
April 13, 2020
There is a lot of entertainment going on while people are in quarantine. This past Saturday, my band did a livestream (all members separately) off of Thee Parkside’s Instagram account. They called it Thee Lockdown. Thee Parkside is a venue/bar in San Francisco where many musical artists would perform, and money was raised during the livestream to support the bands and the staff at Thee Parkside. It’s neat that entertainers are becoming innovative during these unprecedented times. There is a need to perform that is not going away. For many of us, performing is a way of life. I have drag queen friends who are now performing regularly through Twitch and IG live. Although it is definitely not the same as real live performances, it sure is better than nothing I suppose.
April 27, 2020
I feel like this is how life is now. We have to adapt. I am concerned though about the uncertainty of things. When will we be able to fully function and return to society? It is unknown. Governor Gavin Newsom has laid out phases for the state to reopen, with live music being the last, but still we do not know when that will be. I am, however, thankful to be living in a state like California during these times. I feel like our Governor is being a great leader and is basing his decisions off of science and data. I am due to graduate after the Fall 2020 semester, and I wonder… will I be able to find work in the field of my desire? I hope so but the economy is bleak. I know we will get there one day. I know change will come… but when?
May 9, 2020
Hope. I can’t let go of hope. More people are dying, family members are depressed, friends are out of work and some are more concerned and taking the crisis more seriously than others. I hope with more testing and the arrival of a vaccine we can get to some normalcy. I do not wish to go back completely to the way things were before Corona virus took over the globe. People were overworked, over-stimulated, and partook in over-consumption. The Earth was suffering. I sure do hope that we return to a new way of living. A way of life that is sustainable for all humans and this planet. The suffering of one is the suffering of all. We all must thrive to allow the planet to flourish. We must not use more energy than what the planet is giving us. We are all a part of this Earth, we make up one giant organism. We cannot be ruled by greed, but instead by the love for our planet. We only have one. It is each of our individual talents that can be used uniquely to help shape this planet and society. We must act consciously. Together we can overcome this. Hope, we can’t let go of it.

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A Soldier’s Diary During the Pandemic

March 20, 2020: March 20, 2020: I woke up early today, about a week into it and I feel restless, my schedule is out the window and that includes sleep. I should design a new schedule, maybe start meditating more. That should help. The family appears to be content, though they have no clue what’s really going on….in all reality, do any of us? The thought pad I started has helped with the stress of not knowing what to expect. I find such relief in writing things out by hand. This would be so much simpler if I wasn’t responsible for four other people.Please Read More

Though it is a hefty responsibility, it has been, and always will be, my greatest honor and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In a chilling way, it feels similar to how I felt right before my first deployment to Iraq. (14 years ago…God where has the time gone?) When I reflect on Iraq, I can still see the smoke clouds of the burning trash. Felt like I was in a different world. This time, we are fighting with something we cannot see. A few people want me to believe what the news is saying, but the news has been wrong before. Is it wrong again? A part of me hopes so. How do I explain this to my youngest child?I have learned in my thirty-three years, that in times of uncertainty, even in times of chaos, many don’t know where to look for answers. My First Sargent would always remind us that the world is filled with false prophets and greedy men. I believe this is the curse that follows a capitalist society. What is in our favor is that for every one of them, there is 100,000 of us.
This manufactured reality… it finds ways to divide us, even though that’s not how this is supposed to be. If everyone could just see past the distractions and remember that we are all one. Maybe then we will witness the genesis of this “great awakening” I keep reading about. I will remain patient and I will keep an open mind about the future. It is the most logical path.
March 27, 2020: Didn’t get much sleep last night. Just so much planning and reconnaissance to do, plus there will always be time for sleep (never thought I’d say that). One thing I learned in training, you never enter an unknown populous without first learning its routine. That’s how I can avoid the crowds when I need to re-supply. The family is actually in really good spirits. Jessica is such an amazing mother, truly inspirational. Finding do it yourself activities online to do at home and bike rides to walk Thor is our current routine. Jessica has been working hard in the garage. I am trying to keep up. If things start to get worse here, we are going to head East or North. Maybe Texas or the coast of Oregon. We have safe houses there.
The more I think about what is going on, the more questions I have. I truly question the media, not because of any political allegiance (or lack there-of). I am approaching my research with a complete lack of personal bias. Yes, this is a mental exercise. I have to stay sharp. Don’t really know what to expect. My first squad leader would always remind me, “you can’t be tripped up if you a step ahead.” Thinking pushes me to read and analyze. When I search, I look to find answers. Hopefully, I can locate a truthful source.
Remember Bill Nye the science guy? Though he is simply an actor, he did once say something that stuck with me. He said, “Major claims require major proof.” So far, my search has turned up a few questions. Dr. Fauci wrote to the New England Journal of Medicine. An editorial titled Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted (Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., H. Clifford Lane, M.D., and Robert R. Redfield, M.D.) He wrote “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%.” What does this mean? Am I reading it correctly? Did he just state that covid-19 cases were akin to the seasonal flu? If he is correct, then why is this the first time the federal government has gone to such great lengths to isolate people from a sickness akin to the flu? I am going to have to look deeper, something isn’t right here.
April 1, 2020: Headed to Oregon. April fools! We are headed to East Texas and 1700 plus miles of open road. My best time is 27 hours. I can’t push it with the family on board. Precious cargo requires patience. I have a feeling things are going to get worse. I would feel better if we were on our property in Texas. Family seems very excited. I pray it is smooth ride. I think I need to get an oil change. Things have been a little rough. Helping the kids with homework has lost its fervor. I think a change of scenery will do us some good. Though I don’t know what we will encounter on the road, I feel I am ready for whatever comes our way. It has to beat our current situation.
Reflecting on the way in which the federal government is reacting to Covid-19, I can’t help but wonder, what happens after? How easy will it be for mom and pop shops to bounce back? I am sure the $1200 isn’t going to be enough. Sure, they can strongly suggest that Americans stay home, but not everyone is on board. Personally, I don’t know what or who to believe. I have always done well at keeping my distance, so this is nothing new for me. My research has broadened my perspective, once again to another point in my forever evolving perspective. When I talk to other people, they will admit that they have not taken the time to look into the details for themselves. This is troubling because it gives way too much power to what people watch and hear from the mainstream. Do I feel angry? No, not really. Do I feel confident in my country’s leadership? No, not really. Do I feel disappointed in the federal government? Well, the money that is bailing out big business isn’t doing much for the little guy. What I really worry about is the desperation that follows the collapsing of an economy. They are paying people to take drums of oil. That isn’t good for the world’s economy. History has taught us that empires fall. Someday when we are all gone and America has a different name, this moment will just add to the infinite archive of recorded history. I believe it was Nikita Khrushchev who said “We will take America without firing a shot…we will bury you! We do not have to invade the United States, we will destroy you from within.” Some opinion pieces argue he was talking about shifting the status of America from capitalism to communism. Personally, I think it was deeper than that. I do agree that America will be destroyed from within. The moral decay of American society is what will guide the hand of our dark hooded executioner. Sun Tzu explained in The Art of War that, “All warfare is based on deception.” While I was in the Army, I would think about those words often. Right now, when I hear the rumors that China is to blame and it was an act of chemical warfare, I remember that ALL WARFARE IS BASED ON DECEPTION.
April 24, 2020: Things are going well. The family is busy playing with their five cousins. Living with five children under the age of four is definitely a challenge. Today is the beginning of Ramadan. Some things you just don’t forget. The whole energy of Iraq shifts during their holy month. Waves of people head to Mecca. It was astonishing. I have grown to respect Islamic practices. The discipline they have when it comes to their faith is truly honorable.
Things in Texas are as they should be. People are practicing social distancing and most restaurants are take out only. I catch myself daydreaming a lot lately. I have so many questions. I have been reading my Knights Templar manual. It was printed in the early 1900’s. I have started to find answers to some of my questions. Where I am finding them is the best part. I am finding guidance from within. It is my eternal energy that drives my intuition and fuels my life force. In times of chaos and uncertainty, I have discovered that many do not know that the answers they had been searching for have been inside them the whole time.
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The Day Quarantine Really Started

By Dylan Lazaga , CONTRIBUTOR
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, I knew nothing about the newest respiratory disease, which originated in Dec of last year. Although the outbreak was still at large in other countries, COVID news was far and few in the United States. The coronavirus was only on the “trends for you” section on people’s Twitter, mine included. Then March rolled around and in an instant, my routine was in a stalemate. Please Read More

My life was just business as usual prior to COVID-19. From Monday to Thursday, I would go to California State University, East Bay for my 10 am classes, while the afternoons were split between spending time in the gym, researching stories for The Pioneer and Kevin Pina’s “East Bay Live” radio show, and catching up on homework. Wednesdays were the odd day of the week because of my 6 pm evening class. Even with this kind of routine, it felt like every day was passing by, as I was reaching the halfway point of my last semester in college.
As each day passed by, the coronavirus cases were growing. It wasn’t until the first week of March where my local news networks like KRON and NBC Bay Area put a larger emphasis on COVID-19. But when the Bay Area stay-at-home orders, along with increasing coronavirus coverage hit news waves on March 16, most people considered that day as the start of the pandemic. In contrast, March 9 was the day that the coronavirus pandemic began because of an announcement that would unexpectedly trigger ripple effects on our way of living.
It was a normal Monday, and I was finished with school for the day. In the afternoon, however, I received a notification from Bleacher Report, regarding a statement from the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer. That day, they announced they were going to restrict locker rooms to just the teams to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Media access was ruled limited to a specific area, but it never saw the light of day. Whether or not you are into sports, this announcement from all the currently active sports leagues would implicitly create a chain reaction that would lead to the world’s current state.
On March 11, ESPN’s NBA Senior NBA correspondent Adrian Worjinowski reported on the postponement of several NBA games that night. It was for one sole reason: the positive coronavirus test of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Gobert even joked about the virus a day prior, but little did he know that his actions and his positive testing would shake both his team and the sporting world for the next several weeks. The majority of major live sports events were either suspended or outright canceled. Events that were still proceeding, such as WrestleMania and the NFL Draft, were forced to relocate and significantly alter its production format.
While most sports were being suspended, in-person classes at Cal State East Bay were suspended on March 12, while the Bay Area and eventually the whole state began being placed under lockdown on March 16. I had mixed feelings towards the Bay Area lockdown at first because although I spend most of my time inside, the lockdown disallowed me from going to school in-person. I was also concerned because I thought that hiking was a misdemeanor, impacting my outlet for daily exercise. That wasn’t the case as in certain places where I hike, I have to wear a face mask. Even with my initial disappointment, I transitioned into quarantine pretty seamlessly.
Outside of attending school, internships, and helping my family with daily chores, I spend my free time binging YouTube and sports, as well as playing video games. However, most of my extroverted family members miss their friends and exploring the world. Even with my lifestyle, I still miss my friends and family members that are even just minutes away from where I am. The quarantine serves as a reminder of how grateful I am to have the family and friends I have.
Transitioning to online schooling presented a few challenges, but was just as smooth of an adjustment to make. I had already done online classes prior, but I’ve sometimes had a problem paying attention to assignments or notifications in an online class. Fortunately, my professors were still committed to their class times through Zoom, and so was I. Courtesy of Kevin Pina’s “East Bay Live” radio class, I know how to produce remote radio broadcasts. Like with everything new, it was a little rough because I had to learn new software and make sure audio was picking up from both Zoom and the radio software. In time, however, my teammates and I have gotten used to doing our show remotely. The remote shows have helped me if I ever want to get into podcasting.
Outside of school, I continued to watch the remaining sports that were left during the pandemic. Professional wrestling, even in its scripted nature, is the only sport that remains ongoing and it’s the one I grew up with. If there is something that the pandemic has taught me, it’s the fact that sports don’t work without its respective fans, especially pro wrestling.
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Business Aspirations Interrupted

By Jennifer Ewesiobi , CONTRIBUTOR
It all started around mid-March. I remember the Corona virus being mentioned in some news outlets a couple months back, however, it was not something that was a huge concern to me. That was until the death rates started rising across the nation. When I started to see the panic among my peers, and the governors setting nation-wide quarantines, that is when I started to get a bit of anxiety. I had never experienced a pandemic in my life, so you can only imagine how confused and terrified I was. Please Read More

Although there were many repercussions that came with the spread of the virus, such as the closure of shopping malls, nail and hair salons, low inventory for basic household items, and the mandating of social distancing, these were the aspects that were the least of my worries. My main concern was the sudden surge of stagnation throughout the country. At this time of my life, there are two main things that my time, energy, and focus go to daily. Those things are my business ventures and my social engagements.
Ever since I finally granted myself the courage to drop out of medical studies to enter the business world, I have never been able to stand still since. The rush I get from setting standards and goals and reaching them (at times much quicker than expected) was enough to keep me extremely hooked in making it in the business world. Things were going so great and I had managed to put together a multitude of plans and my vision for a future in business. I was constantly thinking of ways to develop what I envisioned and it became my way of life for the past year. So, when the virus stopped everything, I was mortified. Mortified because this was a time in which I had a complete lack of control. I have always understood the fact that you cannot control life, but you can control your reaction to it. But the virus has left no options until this all blows over.
What also has not helped is that my mom, who is a nurse practitioner, was still getting the same number of hours at work and her life has not been interrupted at all. I am so happy that she has not been economically effected, however, I envied that fact that she is able to work during this pandemic. I wish I was able to be as productive as she has been.
In the first two weeks of the quarantine I was forced to come to terms with some numbing truths and I was having an extremely hard time functioning, as a result. I was being deprived of my social life. I am an extreme extrovert, so having to go days without interpersonal human interactions was beginning to take a toll on me more than it would the average joe. Social stimulation, and interactions are literally my fuel. It is very rare when I feel drained from social interactions with my peers. It’s usually the other way around; social events are where I multiply my energy. So, when we were advised to stay home and away from social gatherings, I did not follow those rules very well. I was constantly going out, organizing get-togethers, and coordinating group sleepovers with my friends. I used this time to reach out to other girls in my sorority and create social events with them. I was not doing this to go against the government’s recommendations. I was fulfilling my habit as a social butterfly.
It was not all that bad. I got to do a lot of introspective and retrospective thinking. I was able to realize parts of myself that I did not quite notice before. I was able to learn more about why I do the things I do, how I treat others, and how I treat myself. I was also able to spark another surge toward my goals in business, but just in a different way than before.
Fast-forward to mid-April. This is when my perception on the virus began to change. New information led to a new way of thinking. I was starting to hear all sorts of things and started to question a lot of the rules that were being placed upon us. For example, why am I not allowed to go to a jewelry store on Mother’s Day, however, the liquor stores are completely open? How does it make sense that Bill DeBlasio in New York, and Justin Trudeau in Canada, and Laurie Lightfoot in Chicago, are so adamantly suggesting that we stay home, yet they are caught making non-essential travel trips? Wouldn’t you expect our leaders to take this more seriously? Why is my mom, who works at two California hospitals, reporting that, contrary to popular belief, there is a surge in empty hospital beds, even though the mainstream media was pushing the narrative that hospitals have constantly been packed? Why am I hearing news about people dying of the Corona virus, even though that was really not the main source of their death? Why is president John Magufuli of Tanzania getting positive test results for Coronavirus on fruits and animals? And lastly, why is it that over 66% of patients in New York, who were hospitalized for Covid-19, the ones who were staying home? So, is the shelter-in-place method even effective? All this information and much, much more is what lead me to believe that something extremely fishy is going on behind the scenes and many American citizens, including me, are finally starting to wake up.
All this contradictory information is what initially led me to take notice and conduct my own research on the situation to figure out what was going on. I paid more attention to the news. I read news from a variety of sources and tried to draw my own conclusions from the information that was presented. I also talked to people.
When I would go grocery shopping, to repair my car, or even to order food, I would never miss a chance to spark conversation with other individuals regarding the virus. I would talk to many people within a day. Over the past two weeks, I have come to the conclusion that this virus is definitely real and it is a threat, however, I do have a strong feeling that it is being over sensationalized, not to mention the growing unemployment rate, locking down the economy, which is all seeming less and less necessary every day.
All in all, one of the key important lessons that I learned throughout this pandemic is that ignorance is truly one of the major keys to successful indoctrination. It is extremely important to pay attention to the information that is being presented to you and always ask questions regarding any topic. Although I support the government to an extent, I realized that dependence on it has made me extremely uncomfortable. My mother, and pretty much everyone in my family retains a very independent mindset as I watch how many of my peers are forced to accept stimulus checks to support themselves. However, I have also noticed that the American public is not as ignorant as people think. Some people are not paying close attention, but many people also are. Those who are brave enough to ask the right questions and discover the truth, have truly restored my faith in humanity to realize there is always a fighting chance, regardless of which side you are on.
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A Single, Working Dad and the Pandemic

By Nicholas Campbell , CONTRIBUTOR
My recollection of the events leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic and its resulting impact, in all honesty, started months prior to the shutdown. I was already pondering if it was coming because I work in healthcare doing elderly in-home support. It is normally not too stressful and allows me the flexibility to attend school full time. But as you interact with your peers in any industry, people talk and share things coming that might be coming down the pipeline. There was talk of a mysterious “strain” of what appeared to be either a flu or bacterial infection that was hitting people pretty hard. Even friends on social media during this time, even as early as November and December of 2019, were complaining of battling a flu so bad the likes of which they have never faced before. Please Read More

The common theme was how harsh it was. Fast forward to January 2020. I received a call about my best friend of 30 years, since the 6th grade. His girlfriend, a registered nurse, told me he had come down with a pretty vicious form of pneumonia after fighting what was thought to be the flu. His lungs were shutting down for reasons doctors couldn’t wrap their mind or experience around. He was on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma.
It all started like many cases being described today with Covid-19 patients. He was on his way to Ontario to visit his girlfriend and suddenly began feeling ill. He had a high fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. As he landed, his condition worsened and he decided to visit the E-R at Kaiser. Initially, they gave him fluids and sent him home.
But after he was sent home, the next day things took a turn for the worse. He had chest pains and shortness of breath. He returned to the E-R and this time was admitted and sent to the intensive care unit. He would never leave. His lung capacity dropped to dangerous levels and the respirator didn’t appear to be working.
They knew he had something viral, but didn’t realize what they were facing. As his lung capacity failed to recover, his kidneys began failing due to their not receiving the necessary oxygen. Being that your kidneys filter out toxins, he needed to be put on dialysis, but that didn’t appear to keep pace with the virus either. Consequently, he suffered multiple infections and sepsis. He was pronounced dead on January 26th, just days after arriving. He was only 41-years old.
Although this happened in January, everything about his illness matches other Coronavirus victims. These same symptoms also match up to complaints I’ve heard from friends and associates. Also, they coincide with the symptoms fellow health care workers described their patients fighting with and, ultimately, surviving, even if barely. After burying my best friend, the talk about a new potentially deadly virus was picking up pace in the media. By March, the talk was getting feverishly frantic and spreading, not just through typical media channels, but even on social media. I began to suspect that it was going to present something like the previous pandemics like the H1N1 and Ebola viruses.
By late March, rumors and talk was beginning to float around that about a possible temporary closure of the state along with schools and businesses. But I figured it’d be temporary. A few days, a week at longest. I recall a student in one of my other classes asking what would happen if the school completely shut down. The class balked and chuckled at the prospect of this suggestion. But, as the famous Morpheus quote goes: “ Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.” Lo and behold, we began to see the state and cities slowly shut down.
I first remember getting emails from my kids’ school about the steps they were taking to address the virus and its safety plan. They floated the option of a temporary closure, but said we’d be informed about their decision.
Eventually, we got the notification the school district would be closed until May 1st. Cal State East Bay followed suit along with other colleges immediately after. Initially, I didn’t support that decision because, like many people, I didn’t understand the dangers or dynamics of the virus. I also made unsupported assumptions about the containment of the virus or lack thereof.
Ultimately, the state and counties announced the shelter in place order. As a working student who also happens to be a single parent of three kids, (a teenager and two toddlers) I was worried. But not for reasons you might think. Being on campus was not just my figurative way to focus on school. It was in many ways, literally, the way I was able to focus on school. With the shelter in place, I was now being tasked with a myriad of challenges in front of me like an obstacle course.
With the school districts closed in my area, the students were assigned laptops and “distance learning” would be the way instruction would be taught. Although we had an option to pick up paper packets, which I entertained because I didn’t want to blow through my pricey ink, some teachers were holding zoom sessions to clarify questions, but you were mostly on your own. So, with the distance learning also came playing cook, chef, maid, counselor, medic, DJ, butler, waiter, janitor, bartender and Dad.
On top of that, I was still having to work, which meant an expectation that I could be helping my clients more because I was not at school. After returning home from work, most days I would always have the mental anxiety of knowing I had readings and assignments due in all my classes. They were glued to the front of my mind, but I saw several assignments slip right past me because I didn’t check Blackboard. And I was getting so much email from the university, that I think my eyes were subconsciously glossing over them.
Thankfully, Dr. Cardaras checked in with me and pulled me back. I compare it to being in a lifeboat and she spotted me, lost at sea, and guided me back to safety. Although I was able to keep pace for the most part, I found myself having to plan out work nights where my only feasible option would be to pull the classic “all-nighter” that most college students know all too well. The only pitfall to that strategy is not being able to sleep in with young kids because they will get up and proceed to burn the house down in your sleep! My daughter is two-years-old and has mastered the art of climbing on a chair to unlock the door. This creates a dilemma because pulling an all-nighter while they are asleep is easier said than done. The concept of what goes up, must come down, applies to sleep as well.
Gone are the heydays of my 20’s or even 30’s where I was able to be up all night and go to work like nothing happened. At the seasoned age of 40, lack of sleep hits you much differently. The next day, or even two sometimes, is needed to recover, but it’s not feasible due to the dangers of not being present and aware. What was worse is that daycare providers were shut down under the shelter in place, the option that I used to rely on.
In hindsight, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that the thought of dropping crossed my mind. So, in search of perspective I tapped into the best resource I had, and that was my elderly patients, many of whom, at some point or another, were in my shoes. They acknowledged the unique nature of my struggle because in their day men didn’t always have young kids in their care. But they also reminded me that single mothers do what I do and gently reminded me that at the end of the day, no one’s going to bust out a violin. I would have to get creative and put my head down and punch through whatever was in my way.
I had to be methodical and almost pathologically organized in order to pull this off. All night sessions clearly weren’t feasible. But I could squeeze in an extra hour or two and even more on the weekend. I chose, before and after my conventional and typical time slots, to squeeze the work in. Then, I timed my naps to coincide with those of my kids, and had to lean more heavily on my teenage son to help with the younger kids, much to his chagrin. But I reminded him of how spoiled he really is and that his are first-world problems.
Navigating in the age of the Coronavirus world has been startling. Seeing empty parking lots, stores shuttered, and no traffic has been a shock. Seeing no one on the streets was reminiscent of the hit AMC show “The Walking Dead.” Seeing the masks and lines to get into stores still gives me the chills. In regard to the government’s response to the pandemic, I’ve been of the opinion that our state and local leaders have done a good job in keeping the public informed. They’ve been competent, lucid, and concise. It’s a stark contrast to the response on the federal level. Its response has been chaotic, incompetent, and scattered. There is a reason why the H1N1 pandemic didn’t shut down the country, even though it had many more cases. Steady leadership helped to calm the country then and people didn’t panic. That’s the effect of competent leadership compared to incompetent leadership.
I’m neither angry nor scared. I’d say unsurprised. The “stimulus” payment or the “Rona check” as my friends jokingly call it, has helped. But I’m concerned it won’t do enough or go far enough in the long run without some solid form of continued rent assistance.
One thing that does annoy me, slightly, is that although I can’t confirm this because I lack the structural and scientific data, I feel much of the response to the virus has been rooted in a slight bit of hyperbole and virtue signaling. Example: A store I went into was enforcing the face mask rule. I didn’t have a mask at the time and was forced to get a dirty and oily rag from my trunk and “Jimmy rig” it onto my glasses since the cloth was too short.
Meanwhile, one employee inside didn’t have one on and the other wasn’t even wearing his properly. This wasn’t a food or medical store. It was a T-Mobile store and I was just paying a bill. The transmission of a virus wouldn’t be prevented in this scenario. But I think the manager had to show he was “taking it seriously” when, in fact, they really weren’t. It merely inconvenienced me and annoyed me. But it didn’t make anyone safer.
This experience taught me that life can come at you fast. Preparation is key and can make or break us. I watched both businesses and people have their whole lives upended in a matter of weeks. That’s all it took to bring our economy to a halt and our people to their knees, which merely shows how fragile the economy actually was in the first place, and how under the battleship of data, there were stress cracks waiting to ultimately shatter and sink the whole boat. America’s economy was the proverbial “Titanic.” A potentially deadly virus, coupled with a clown show of a presidential administration, was the recipe for literal disaster happening right now before our very eyes. And we haven’t even gotten to fire or hurricane season yet.
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By Taylor Hill , CONTRIBUTOR
I will start by saying that this pandemic has been life altering for us all. I won’t get into why. I think we all know why.
For me, the Coronavirus is probably the best thing that has happened in my life. Fortunately, all of my friends and family are completely healthy. No one close to me has lost their job or gone without anything essential during this pandemic, including me. To say that I feel “blessed” would be an understatement and an insult to God, if you believe in that sort of thing.Please Read More

I am someone who has always worked full time and gone to school full time, simultaneously, since I was eighteen years old. I’ll be 26 in less than 60 days. I needed this break. Badly. During this quarantine I have been able to truly rest (like really sleep and not feel guilty about it), focus on school (like really take my time with assignments and not have anxiety), think about my next steps after graduating, listen to my body, and spend time with my family. This is a valuable time like no other and like no other we may ever have again. If we are going to be on lockdown, for me, it has to mean something more than just being in the house.
Our government has done us no good since all of this started. There has been endless back and forth discussions on live national television from Trump and no transparency with information. I would be lying if I said I was at all surprised by Trump’s lack of urgency regarding this pandemic. It also blows my mind how hard it is for people to just stay in the damn house. It seems like half of the country is not taking this virus seriously, which contributes to the reason why, now in May, we are still on lockdown, slowly re-opening the world, with no confidence to really do so.
This virus has been with us since December of 2019, and we were very late to the quarantine party. I was traveling at the beginning of the year with no regard for COVID at all. Just like the rest of America, I simply did not know that out there something was a danger to my health. I came home from visiting Seattle a week before the first Coronavirus case in Washington was announced by our government. That was really weird and scary when I actually thought about it.
The other thing that has bothered me during this time is the lack of care that schools and universities appear to have for the graduates of the class of 2020. I completely understand that ceremonies had to be canceled in order to properly social distance, but graduating college is a monumental moment that should be properly acknowledged.
My heart breaks the most for all first-generation graduating students, who may not get their chance to traditionally celebrate their amazing accomplishment with their families. As for me, I’m just waiting for my cap and gown (that is taking way longer than it should to be mailed, given that it is paid for and should have been delivered to campus a month ago), to take my graduation photos and proudly move on with my life.
East Bay’s Department of Communication is attempting to do a little more for the class of 2020 by creating something a little special for us, and for that I am grateful. I really hope that once this all dies down, we can walk the stage like we planned. It breaks my heart that this exciting time has been robbed from so many people, including me. We have all worked so hard to get to this point. We could have attended any other school, but we chose to be a Pioneer. That has to stand for something when the university thinks about how to honor us.
I said all of this to say, the girls (girls being gender neutral) are truly dragged. As much as I love sleeping for endless days and being in the house watching shows while being paid, I’m ready to get back to what we all consider normal. I want to hug my friends. I want to do brunch on a sunny Sunday.
I want to see my grandparents and not feel like I may infect them if I do. I want to celebrate my accomplishment with my loved ones. I want to get my hair and nails done. I want a new president! LOL. I just want this to be OVER.
Here’s a shout out to my generation and our creative use of social media! I do not know how we all would even attempt to get through this awkward time without technology and social media as a safe way to connect with people.
Lastly, thank you to all essential workers and congratulations to the class of 2020. One thing this pandemic didn’t stop, was us getting that piece of paper… #StraightOuttaQuarantine.
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COVID: Through the Eyes of a Golfer and International Student

By Will Barnett , CONTRIBUTOR
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news about the shelter in place rules that were going to be implemented. I was standing on the 13th tee with my golf coach, Erik Stone, at Corica Park Golf Course in Alameda preparing for the Canadian PGA Tour Qualifying School that I was scheduled to compete in. Obviously, my plans changed and, like everyone else, I have been stuck inside my home. Please Read More

Covid-19 has affected me in so many ways that I cannot explain. My plan for a career as a professional golfer has been postponed. I was supposed to move to Canada with my girlfriend to start a new chapter of my life. My parents were planning on coming to watch me graduate all the way from Australia and now they are stuck there, fearing for their jobs and I don’t know if I can afford to stay here for very long.
Throughout all this, I have kept a journal that details what I have been going through, what my family and friends have been going through, and anything else that I can think of that was on my mind during this time. With school transitioning to online some of my classes have gotten harder. I am not going to lie. After writing in my journal, I realized how much this pandemic has taken a toll on me, mentally, physically and just how much it has changed the lives of everyone, not just in the Bay Area, but all around the world.
We first began recording our journals for class on March 18th. I wrote: “Today is the first day of recording journals for our Social Justice Journalism class. We started sheltering in place yesterday. I think they said April 7th was when we are supposed to be able to go back to normal. I was supposed to have Mackenzie Qualifying school next week. Southern California hasn’t gone into quarantine yet, so maybe I’ll be okay”. Oh, how I was wrong.
It’s been almost two full months since we began quarantine and my life has been turned upside down. Within two days of the shelter in place order, three of my roommates had moved out. These guys were my mates on the golf team for the past two years, so they had become two of my best friends. Now, one is in Los Angeles and the other is in Portland. I honestly don’t know when I am going to see them again, but I hope it is sooner rather than later. With classes online, I guess it only made sense that they would go back home.
Journal entry March 19th: “Qualifying school was officially postponed until June. By that time, I was planning being in Canada with my girlfriend, but I still don’t know when that is going to happen.
Let’s hope it works out.” Of all that COVID has touched, this may have been the most serious for me.
For most people who don’t understand how playing professional golf works, missing out on qualifying school may not seem like a big deal. What it really means is there is a chance I can’t do want I want for a living for at least a year. Ever since I was a kid, all I have ever wanted to do was to become a professional golfer. That goal never changed. I was going to move from Australia and come to America to go to college to play collegiate golf while getting a degree and then, after graduation, I would try to play professionally. Today, I have no idea what I am going to do.
I want to play golf, but now that I am about to graduate, I need to find some sort of income while I wait. It wouldn’t have been too bad if I could live with my girlfriend in Canada.
Journal entry March 21st: “My girlfriend moved in today to spend this shelter in place with me until she leaves. I am glad she has come up to my place to spend time with me. I am not sure when she is leaving, though, to go back up to Canada now that she can complete her classes wherever she wants to now.” Lucky for me, she didn’t leave until last Tuesday on May 5th, so I was able to live with her for almost two months. I am annoyed that I couldn’t go back to Canada with her.
The Canadian border has been closed to non-Canadian citizens since the start of the shelter in place order. I am stuck in the Bay Area waiting to see when I can finally move there to be with her and start the rest of my life. Also, I am an international student at East Bay, which means I am on a student visa. Once I graduate, I have exactly two months from the day of my graduation to stay in the country and then I must leave. The other option was to apply for an OPT visa and that’s exactly what I did. I would never have applied for it if it wasn’t for Covid-19. But unless I spend the thousands of dollars it costs to go back to Australia, that is my only option. I guess I plan on finding a job in journalism or having something to with communication. The visa wasn’t cheap. The application cost $410 dollars, which converts to $637 Australian dollars. For my family, already suffering enough financially from Covid-19, this was a difficult expense.
It hurts me that this pandemic is affecting my family so much. I think my brother and dad are doing okay. My dad bought a golfing net for the back yard. My brother is completing his school work from home rather than on the university campus. The one person I am worried about, though, is my mum. My mum always get worried over little things, so with something as serious as Covid-19, she is freaking out about finances, my safety and when everything else is going to go back to normal. I think finances are her biggest concern. My mum works at a university back home and, due to budget cuts, there are 21,000 people who are going to lose their jobs and my mum is worried that she is going to be one of them.
I think Covid-19 has affected everyone differently in terms of mental and physical wellness. For me Covid-19 is something that has had a negative effect on me physically. For almost a month I did little to no exercise. I just stayed inside as ordered by the authorities but I never thought to work out at home. But that changed.
Journal entry April 10th: “Me and Taylor worked out, I think, for the first time since this whole thing started. I am going to be sore tomorrow for sure. I think I needed this. I feel good.” This started a new trend for quarantine where I would work out for at least 45 minutes a day.
Journal entry April 24th: “Today marks two weeks since I began working out every day. I don’t know if I have lost weight, but, my God, I feel so much better. I have been running or doing some sort of bodyweight workout every day and it is something I would recommend to everyone. I don’t just feel better physically, but also mentally.” For the most part, I feel my mental health has been good, but after going to back to some sort of routine, I feel better.
I am annoyed that I haven’t been able to live a normal life for the last two months. It sucks that I can’t go out with friends. It sucks that my plans have been halted. But I understand what needs to be done and the measures that governments around the world need to take. I feel like I have adapted to it as well as I can and I am content doing this for as long as necessary, if it leads to the best possible outcome, which leads me to one thing that has made me very angry.
It is the people in states like Florida and Michigan where people are blatantly disregarding the shelter in place rules because they think they are a violation of their rights as Americans. I wrote a post just last week about the people who opposed this whole shelter in place rule.
Journal entry May 1st: “I have had enough of the stupid people in places like Florida and Michigan, who are protesting! How can you be so stupid? This disease is killing thousands of people and you think your right to go to a bar or mall is more important? That is the most ridiculous thing I can think of. This sort of behavior, that makes the news in other parts of the world, is why a lot of people don’t take America seriously. Do these people not realize that they are creating a horrible image of America that the rest of the world is seeing?”
I am not an American citizen, so I don’t have any skin in the game about how the government is handling this. California is doing a decent job. However, I had pains in my chest the other week and went to get tested.
Journal entry May 2nd: “My chest is hurting and, quite honestly, I am having trouble breathing. I went up the CSUEB campus to go get tested at the testing site, but they are only open Monday through Friday! I can’t believe this. This is a global pandemic and they are only testing Monday through Friday like they are some sort of corner store? What the hell!”.
These past few months are something that I will never forget for the rest of my life. Covid-19 has affected my life in ways I would never have thought possible three months ago. Being a younger person, I feel as though my generation is highly scrutinized. I am aware that many people my age may contract the virus, but may not be affected by it. I believe that most people my age are doing what is right. However, there are people not taking this seriously and are, instead, treating it like a vacation.
Covid-19 will be a time in history that will be talked about for the rest of human history. People have died, people have lost their jobs, and the lives of people all around the world have turned into what can only be described as some sort of science fiction movie. I know that I will remember Covid-19 and how it affected me and I am sure everyone else will, too.
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A Dream Interrupted, But Hope Is Alive

By Moises Ruiz , CONTRIBUTOR
I first heard about the Coronavirus towards the end of December 2019 and I learned that it came from Wuhan, China. On the news I heard that the people there were dying of Coronavirus, but nobody really knew that it was also here in the United States until doctors started to come on television and explain it to the public. Please Read More

With pure ecstasy I accepted and packed my bags to live on campus and fulfill my mission to make every moment count. In August 2019, I moved into my new apartment on campus with amazing roommates whom I feel will be lifelong friends. I knew I would be able to accomplish every goal and make this new place my home. Walking the corridors in Mieklejohn Hall, I knew I was where I belonged. Everything felt so natural, peaceful, and I found myself, really, in a mental state of Zen.
In October, I started forming my circle of friends from my apartment complex and classes. Every moment I spent with new friends was filled with laughter, different experiences, movie marathons, and, of course, fun, crazy adventures. I started falling in love with my new home and my fellow Pioneers. I could see that on the road to my goals I started to gain traction and believed I would accomplish them. Every now and then, I would return to my home in Vallejo, but it felt so empty and I couldn’t wait to return to Hayward.
This was not my first time at a four-year college. As a matter of fact, I attended one years before, but unfortunately, things did not work out. At my first four-year, I had an apartment and I also made a great group of friends. Near the end of my first semester I was informed that I would not be able to continue due to finances. Since then, I had the fear that I could not ever continue my education and receive my bachelor’s degree. It has been a fear that has followed me for years. However, at East Bay when I saw my financial aid package and saw that it was a possibility for me to afford tuition and housing, I was happy, but still that doubt lingered. I felt that at any moment all these wonderful things at my new school would, at any time, come crashing down, and it would take me back to square one. I told my roommate my fear and he assured me, after looking at my aid, that everything would work out and I would be able to continue to be studying at East Bay and living there. It felt like I had a weight taken off my shoulders. I am still at East Bay.
Spring semester 2020 finally arrived, and all the pressure and all my fears were washed away. It was time to put all my attention into a new semester with new opportunities. I made more friends, built stronger connections with others, and I focused on the topics I actually wanted to study. I felt like I was on top of the world.
But March came, and my world began to crumble as Covid-19 began to plague the nation.
At first, it seemed like a cruel joke and then reality swept in with numerous deaths, countries shutting down, classes going online, and my fellow pioneers going home. The place I called home was slowly starting not to feel that way anymore. It began to feel like a place of loneliness where all that remained was me. If I were to return to Vallejo it wouldn’t feel like home there either. But in Hayward everyone was leaving and sheltering in place. I had no choice.
Once again, it felt like everything was being taken from me. Negative thoughts slowly crept in, but hope was even louder. This time it was different. Nothing will be taken away from me because I have hope that I’m returning for my senior year. Eight years of hard work are going to pay off and I will finally receive my Bachelor’s degree in Communication. With hope and determination, I can make my dreams come true.
Once again, I packed my bags on March 29 and headed straight back home to Vallejo. When I arrived, I was received with open arms by my nephews and my world once again came alive. I remembered that two weeks before leaving to study at East Bay, my sister gave birth to my niece and it saddened me that I would not get to spend much time with her. But returning home for the quarantine, I have been able to make up for lost time and get acquainted with my niece.
It hasn’t been all fun since returning home. The homework, tests, and attending class, virtually, have all been a struggle. The anxiety and stress from the virus have taken its toll and have left me with no motivation to do anything, including school. The first four weeks being back home were filled with a surplus of sleep and a need to escape at every moment through entertainment and food.
Most of my efforts since leaving Hayward have been targeted to keeping up with the pandemic through the news. I know that California took action early as residents sheltered in place, which brought some sort of comfort to me. California has been doing a good job on trying to flatten the curve, but my fellow Californians are also getting restless. Many are protesting the stay at home orders. Ignoring the efforts of essential workers, and medical professionals has saddened me as people choose to put them in harm’s way.
I cannot predict the future, but I think that it is going to be a bright one. There are so many flaws in our American system and I’m sure people have taken notice and that change will come soon as a result. As much as I could be sad that I had to leave my friends and my school, I refuse to be. This experience has taught me that I need to be grateful for every moment and not squander the precious seasons of my life, especially when I will only be at East Bay for another year.
When the next fall semester starts, I will once again resume traveling on the road to my goal to make an impact at my school and finish what I started in 2012, which is to get my college degree.
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Disbelief and Disappointment

By Emmanuel Tril , CONTRIBUTOR
I first heard about the Coronavirus towards the end of December 2019 and I learned that it came from Wuhan, China. On the news I heard that the people there were dying of Coronavirus, but nobody really knew that it was also here in the United States until doctors started to come on television and explain it to the public. Please Read More

I didn’t pay too much attention to it because, from my perspective, I never thought it was going to spread here in the U.S. I thought it was something that the news media was making up to create fear in all of us. Therefore, I thought that this disease was mostly going to stay in China. I thought it wouldn’t harm us here in California.
I kept watching the news and learned that the second country to get infected was Italy. Thousands of people were dying every day. I still didn’t believe it would come to our country. The next country to be impacted was Spain, but Spain was way over there and we are way over here.
I did not get concerned until one of my professors said that our campus might close down and that we might be forced to move classes online. We still went to school for the first week of March, but then we received the email saying that classes were going to be moved online to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
The first two weeks were easy to handle because, personally, for me, I still got up at the same time to take my classes and I didn’t have to worry about getting ready and taking extra time to take Bart at rush hour in the morning.
Was what was difficult was that everybody in my house was at home. My little brother and sister were taking classes online at the same time. It was hard for each of us to find a place of our own to study.
A week before spring break, on March 25th, was my birthday. I had a good time with my family. It was different, though, because we usually go out for breakfast or lunch or dinner. My mom made some good food, which I didn’t mind, because I like spending time with my family, even if just at home.
A couple of days after my birthday, my sister gave me some tickets to go to a soccer game but, that got postponed until October 9th. I might not even be able to go then because Governor Newsom says there might not be any large gatherings, like a soccer match, until 2021. Yeah, I am kind of disappointed, but I understand the situation and I know it’s to keep us safe here in California and in other parts of the United States. But I was sure looking forward to it.
I was still hoping there would be a graduation ceremony, but there will be none of that either. After that news, I kind of started to lose motivation for my school work. My parents won’t see me on that graduation stage as we originally had hoped. It was going to be a special moment for me because I am going to be the first in my family to graduate from college. And I won’t be with my professors, friends and classmates, either, to mark the occasion, all of us together.
Instead, I will celebrate quietly with my family at home. But we were looking forward to an actual ceremony because it would have reflected that all my hard work paid off, and the hard work of my parents, too, who gave me their support to continue pursuing my dreams and goals and to keep moving forward in life.
This year has been very awkward and strange, but we’re going to make the best of it.
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Boredom and Frustration in Lockdown

By Ruben Banuelos , CONTRIBUTOR
The year 2020 has been like a punch in the gut from Mike Tyson. Not just for me, not just for the United States, but for everyone in the entire world. We’re having a crumby time. We started a new decade, which should have been filled with excitement. Instead, five months into the new year, we have been hit with tragedy after tragedy and death, including the loss of one of my heroes, basketball legend, Kobe Bryant. Please Read More

Coronavirus has been a very difficult challenge to handle with all the lives this virus has taken and how fast it has spread. I wasn’t shocked once I heard my school had been affected.
COVID-19 has ruined vacation plans, birthdays, graduations, sports, and much more. The Coronavirus came out of nowhere, nobody saw it coming… besides the government, but that’s for another essay. The life that I am living today is very interesting.
I wake up every day doing the same routine that I’ve been doing since shelter in place. My days have been such a drag that I feel like often time just stops. My life, surrounded by just these walls, is stale. And the mask! The mask is starting to feel like a permanent part of me, now kind of like a fashion statement.
The same old same old thing every day. Go straight to work and come straight back, and that’s all I am able to do, unless I want to risk getting this virus, which I don’t. Staying home all the time, sucks. I don’t like it. Not being able to go anywhere, even made me want to stop attending my lectures.
I miss waking up and heading to my morning classes at East Bay. These online Zoom lectures are not useful at all, in my opinion. I am someone who learns in classrooms, not at my house. I can’t focus at home, and it’s hard to keep my focus on what my professor is saying through a screen. Homework is sometimes even hard to do because adjusting to education online is hard. And to be honest, it’s kind of hard to keep track when I have to be in “school” through an internet appointment. I’ve missed my fair share of classes.
This pandemic has taken away what I love, which is sports. Sports is what kept me going. It’s an addiction. Sports were my life. It’s what I want to do. I want to watch and write about sports. But I can’t do that because there isn’t any sports at the moment. I can’t watch my Lakers dominate the rest of the season on their road to another championship, or my Giants as this would have been their rebuild season. I can’t even watch WWE.
All of our favorite things that we used to do have been put on pause. And the scary thing about this is that nobody seems to have an answer as to when things will resume. Even grocery shopping has not been easy to do. The grocery lines are insane, and once inside, the store shelves are empty because people decide to stock up, in case the world ends.
When you hear and see that this virus has taken thousands and thousands of lives, it’s terrifying and it’s shocking to know that our area also has been affected. It happened so fast. We were normally going about our lives. Everyone was doing their life and, in a second, we had to stop everything and shelter for our own protection. I even fear more for my family than for myself. My father works and I’m scared because that’s putting him at a higher risk for testing positive.
It’s scary to have to expose yourself to the virus. I have to work during this pandemic, and expose my body 40 hours a week, to pay for bills. I’m not going to lie, companies are now offering more money for overtime, since they are losing employees who refuse to work. I’ve been cashing in on those extra hours.
Overall, life feels like we’ve been stuck on a Ferris wheel. Every day starts and ends the same way. Nothing really interesting is happening. All I can do is get by for now, trying to finish school online and go to work, staring at four walls for most of my day, and binge-watching my favorite movies and shows.
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COVID and The Struggles It Has Brought

By Isiah Thompson , CONTRIBUTOR
This semester has definitely been one of my strangest educational experiences. I didn’t understand the seriousness of Covid-19 until a week before the shelter in place was put into effect. My thinking prior to the shelter in place was that Covid-19 would be similar to Ebola, in that it would receive a lot of media attention and do some damage, but treatments would be made available and the situation would blow over. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Please Read More

I was really surprised when our classes moved online. Once that transition was made, I began to understand the seriousness of the situation, seeing reports of high-profile celebrities and politicians who contracted the virus, and while still a little skeptical about Covid-19, I couldn’t ignore the large numbers of people who contracted the virus in other countries, such as Italy. I didn’t like how people who were famous were the first to be able to access the test, while the rest of us had to wait.
I’ve never experienced anything like a pandemic in my life. We did an assignment in one of my classes where we looked at both Covid-19 and the Spanish flu and examined the differences and similarities. A major difference between the two pandemics was the media coverage. In 1918, the U.S. government downplayed the seriousness of the flu, which meant the people did not take the proper precautions, resulting in many deaths. The major similarity in the two pandemics: A gross misjudgment by American leadership. Donald Trump conducted a press conference where he addressed having known about the virus since mid to late December of 2019, but did nothing to prepare the country. I found this extremely frustrating because Americans could’ve better prepared themselves for the pandemic and the government could’ve prevented many deaths.
The Spanish flu lasted for two years! At our current rate of progress, Covid-19 will last for at least the remainder of 2020 and perhaps even longer. Early in the Covid-19 timeline, many experts would say that younger people were less likely to contract the virus than older people. This leaves me in a state of confusion, because while I feel like I’ll be okay with appropriate precautions, where does that leave my elderly loved ones? My grandmother had been battling cancer and was in and out of the hospital for treatments and surgeries throughout the months of March and April. My family was incredibly worried.
Juggling school and work, and worrying about loved ones is very stressful. March felt like an incredibly long month. I wasn’t sure if we’d be going back to campus anytime soon, and from what I was hearing on the news, going back to campus seemed very unlikely. As March came to an end, I was definitely expecting a lighter workload from my instructors, and this was true for the most part, except for one class.
In my journal entry on March 19, I considered sending an email to the university president. In this email I would’ve expressed how many of my peers were struggling with internet access, school/work balance, and affording the basic necessities of life. I also would’ve expressed why I thought our courses should be less intensive. I felt compelled to contact the president because throughout my entire time at community college and my first semester at East-Bay, I had no personal or family computer. I was completely dependent on public libraries. Had this pandemic happened last year, I would’ve most likely had to drop all of my courses, and it bothered me that some of my hardworking peers may have to drop because they don’t have internet access either.
I’ve stayed in communication with a lot of my classmates throughout the pandemic. When we talk, we realize that we have many similar problems and have offered each other support where we could. I remember speaking with one of my friends who was very distraught because she was struggling with internet access and felt she would have to drop all of her courses and throw all her hard work to the wayside. Another peer and I offered to help by sending pictures of readings and checking in a few times a week to make sure she was on track to finish the remainder of the semester. We were able to keep her in the class and keep her moving forward and it felt good to be there for her in her time of need.
I honestly assumed with everything going on outside of the classroom that our instructors would show a little empathy and consideration and not try to make our lives anymore complicated than they already were. All of my instructors showed empathy and consideration, except for one. This particular professor treated the class like there was no pandemic. I found this very disheartening and it honestly made me want to drop the course, but I had worked too hard to just give up in the last two months of the semester. This instructor already seemed bent on making an already intense class even more intensive, even before Covid.
As the pandemic wore on, it became clear that this instructor was operating differently than any of my other instructors. In my opinion, what this instructor expected and asked of the class was not very reasonable or accommodating. I’m not saying the class should’ve been easy. I am saying the class should’ve been altered, given the emergency. Students were lost, and the morale of the class was very low. Not even this would motivate the professor to alter their teaching methods. Instead, the class continued without regard for the disconnect between the students and the instructor. This situation definitely made the semester feel even more strange and long and it made me want to graduate as soon as I could, so I would never have to learn from a professor like this one ever again.
Before this semester, I had definitely been through some tough courses, but those instructors weren’t inclined to try and make things more complicated. They worked to break things down and make sure the majority of the class understood the material before moving on. I walked away from those courses feeling inspired and ready to apply what I had learned. My experience with this specific instructor in this semester of the pandemic left me feeling very unenthused and uninspired about academics. This was the first time I’ve felt this way during my time at East Bay. I did get the chance to speak face to face with this professor and we were able to clear a few things up, but I honestly believe his methods and attitude were cruel.
I’ve been reading the San Leandro Times to stay up to date on what the city and residents are doing to help people during the pandemic. There is a food bank in San Leandro that has been serving more people than usual since the shelter in place. I was happy to see an establishment in my community helping people in need.
Right across from the Bay Fair Mall, there are numerous tents lined up near the train tracks, where many people and entire families live. There were plenty of homeless people living in San Leandro before Covid-19, but there seems to be a surge in the past two months. Based solely on this visual of the tents, I don’t think the city of San Leandro has done enough to help people who are struggling with housing. If one were to visit the San Leandro marina, they’d see a parking lot full of mobile homes. In the past, you’d maybe see two or three, but since shelter in place, the number of RV’s has risen.
Being somewhat of an introvert, I enjoy the less crowded grocery stores and freeways, but another part of me misses getting together with people, going to the gym, and going to the mall. I hope when the pandemic is over, everyone sees how connected and dependent we all are on each other. In America, our society is so filled with greed and a lack of empathy, that it would be really refreshing to see a shift in what the people demand from their society and its leadership when the pandemic is over.
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A Call to Activism

By Ailing Cheng , CONTRIBUTOR
Growing up, I was raised to treat the janitor with the same respect as anyone else. Society has always deemed those earning the bare minimum as less than the rest. However, it doesn’t mean the work is beneath anyone else’s. Today, it is those janitors, grocery workers, and waiters, along with our healthcare professionals who are out supporting us during this time. It is no longer about job descriptions and wages, but those who are willing to risk their health to serve communities. In times of great urgency, it seems that society forgets that those who are serving us today, were deemed beneath society’s economic standards yesterday.Please Read More

I left San Francisco and came home to Fresno before the citywide shelter in place order was given. It is frustrating with all the unanswered questions that we all have. People are panic shopping, which is ridiculous that people don’t just buy the essentials, but instead, are selfish and take more than they need. -Ailing Cheng
The city of Fresno has taken the necessary precautions to slow down the spread of COVID-19, but it still needs some work. Some people feel because we are not a major city like San Francisco or Los Angeles, we should have different regulations. In order to stop this virus and go back to normal, we should all follow the same regulations as equals. It is understandable for the panic that many people are experiencing. But, our society is not equipped to deal with such chaos. We live in a society that never lives with the fear of war in our homeland or a shortage of resources, but has an expectation to have everything instantly. But to have your life suddenly interrupted by unforeseeable circumstances, is not something I, and many others, have ever experienced.
As I sit here and write, I find myself feeling angry, depressed, and defeated. I am angry that we live in a world where we focus more on blaming others than finding a solution. I am especially enraged that half the population has a lack of compassion for others. It upsets me to see half the population disregard safety protocols for their selfish reasons. To not consider others, especially, our medical professionals and essential workers, who are fighting on the frontlines for us. It has always been clear to me, especially, in these past two months, that the system we live in today is broken. This is something I am very familiar with. When I say our system is broken, it’s not only our government, but our society.
March 23, 2020
Graduation has been postponed. I’m upset and feeling very unmotivated. My dad was let go from his job this morning, which only adds to the stress of being quarantined. I stopped watching the news because it’s depressing and stressful to hear every day. Also, the U.S. is full of idiots, who don’t seem to grasp the urgency of sheltering in place for the benefit of others, not just themselves. -Ailing Cheng
I think reality truly set in on this day. A lot of life-changing events occurred that not only affected me, but my whole family. I am fortunate enough to not have my graduation canceled, unlike others. To be able to have a graduation in the future brings hope that this will all pass someday. I think what upsets me more, is the uncertainty of when that day will be. To be quite honest, I want to walk, not only for myself, but for my parents. I, like many others, come from immigrant parents. As cliché as it is, my parents sacrificed so much, so that I could have this education. That has always been the thing I was reminded of growing up. For my family to see me walk, it is not just a thank you to my parents. I’m honoring them in the only way I can, which are for the sacrifices they made to get me to this point.
On top of having a postponed commencement, my father was let go from his job recently. This only adds to the long list of grievances that this pandemic has caused. As I watch and aid my father with applying for his unemployment benefits, it is clear that the program is more complex than it needs to be. There are unnecessary steps that need to be taken, a lack of resources, and information for those who are unfamiliar with unemployment.
Our government during our time of need only cares for itself. The nation is incapable of dealing with a pandemic compared to other countries. What does this say about the United States? We are #1 in the world for COVID-19! Of all things to be first in, this shouldn’t be it! Thankfully, California is taking great care and has not waited for a clear plan from Washington. Governor Newsom is working for the people of California to end this pandemic in our state. Many people are protesting to open California again, but they’re protesting for the wrong reasons. We should be protesting for more supplies for our medical professionals and hospitals. Protest for those, who need financial support regardless of social security, taxes, or citizenship!
April 13, 2020
I left my house today to run errands with my sister. It’s weird leaving my house, and having to wear a mask inside a store, sanitize the carts thoroughly and your debit cards. My dad also received his stimulus check today. I think it’s unfair that the government leaves out quite a few people, who don’t qualify for a stimulus check.-Ailing Cheng
Even though I have spent a majority of this quarantine upset, I have reflected on all that has transpired. During this time of COVID-19, the world still functions, although we all have our definitions of a functioning society. There are still ongoing issues that need to be addressed, pre-COVID. Like the case of Ahmaud Arbery.
It was the public that was outraged by the terrible acts of two men that ended Arbery’s life. This incident demonstrates the impact the public can have on injustice in our society. If our voices can create justice for Arbery, why can’t we use those same voices to change our government?
We all have our own opinions about this quarantine, and that’s okay. But, what we should all come to agree upon is, we are all in the same boat. This essay isn’t just about the lack of action. It is to remind us that we have lost our lack of compassion for others. When did we become so selfish to care about issues that only directly affect each one of us?
Our history tells the story of activism that led to the rights we have today. At what point, did we lose the sense of urgency to demand equality in all aspects of our society? Our Constitution starts with “We the people of the United States”. We the people of the United States have the power to demand change. We the people of the United States should have more say in our government. We are the people of the United States, and we should be outraged that our government is not prepared in our time of need. At what point do we say, enough is enough… because I’ve had enough.
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Blessings in Quarantine

By Jiselle Boquiren-Wong , CONTRIBUTOR
I did not see this coming. But at the same time, I did. We all did. In the beginning of 2020, Twitter kept all of us Tweeters informed that Wuhan was highly infected with this so-called Coronavirus. Big whoop. This would not affect we Americans. So we all went about our days socializing and continuing to work towards our individual goals in life. I was ready to finish my last semester of college and prove to the company I was interning for that I am right for their marketing team, in hopes of scoring a full-time job with the company by the time I graduated. I had my life together. I had a perfect schedule that pushed my limits, yet I was able to balance school, work and maintain my health. But of course it never fails. When things are too perfect, they crumble. I found myself exhausted by the time school ended, and yet, still found myself pushing to the last mile to attend jiu jitsu to please my dad and to satisfy my own standards for my health and wellness. Please Read More

But was the life I was living what I wanted for myself or was it what society wants? If it was not for this shelter in place, I do not think I could have realized the real purpose of my life at 22 years old.
Adjusting to the new normal was smooth for me. While others struggled to be indoors and isolate from large crowds, this is exactly what I needed, which was a damn break from life. I have been working so hard ever since I can remember. My family has been spoon feeding me their business ventures, so I would have experience in retail, marketing, real estate, sales, you name it. So to say the least, the ongoing goal for me was to be successful after finishing college in exactly four years. And what do I need to attain to be successful? Money! You might be wondering what this privileged girl is complaining about. As the world crumbles due to this world-wide shutdown and the apparent lack of capitalism, we are forgetting why the world was crumbling in the first place, way before COVID-19. I am in no way supporting socialism, I think people deserve rewards for the amount of effort they put in. But it seems that money is the root of all evil. Hasn’t it become evident?
When was the last time you had dinner with your family? When was the last time you arranged Zoom calls with extended family that do not live in the same town as you? When was the last time you saw more than four neighbors outside talking a walk with their family and pets? I am no scientist, so I cannot pick apart whatever this COVID-19 thing is, other than it is super contagious and comes with a gnarly cough. I am a graduating Communication major, and during these unprecedented times, I cannot be more thankful for the tools and perspectives I have grasped as an undergraduate student at this moment in time.
So what does COVID-19 mean to us? Well, the pandemic can have multiple meanings to each individual. To introverts, it will help them catch up with their favorite Netflix movies and TV shows and play Animal Crossing in between. To extroverts, it will make them miss their friends and social outings. However, if we take a step back and acknowledge our own individual households, we can appreciate the little things right in front of us. Most Americans have resources, including shelter, food, water and, hopefully, some sort of support system. And though I cannot speak for an entire society, the privileged should help with getting some of these resources to people who don’t have them, especially now. Look around you!
I have a family that I have not spent time with since I moved away to college. I appreciate them even more. If there is one thing to realize during quarantine, I hope it is this: Do not wait to appreciate and be grateful for what you have, before it’s too late. My boyfriend often says, “give flowers while they can still smell them.” We desperately needed this pandemic to take a step back from this narcissistic society and remember where we came from. Give back to those who provided for you when you could not do for yourself. Think about how you want your future children to treat their family and friends. Acknowledge everyone’s differences and understand their perspectives. Touch base with your own unique roots.
While society might have lost track of the true importance of life, it is not too late to turn back. This is the time, if there ever was one, where all of us need to cater to each other because we share this world. We are sharing this phenomenal time period together as one. When social distancing became a thing, I knew this was a big test for society. It was a test to see if we can work collaboratively, to do what is right for our society. And to those who feel like their rights and freedoms are being violated, how about those humans who violate the whole world mass producing stuff and leaving choking carbon emissions. So what? I’ll tell you what.
The world needed time to heal, and if a pandemic had to occur to get people’s attention, to listen to what we should acknowledge, then so be it. Take what is going on in your life and try to find the good or lessons in that situation, instead of complaining or feeling hopeless. The world keeps spinning, and this is a time where we all have to improvise because the world will not stop for you or for me.
Keep your loved ones close and appreciate them while they are here. Rid your mind of negativity and thoughts that are not productive. Be with a significant other because you will make each other better people and that is what the world needs right now. Better people.
I am not perfect. I personally think I give the worst advice. The thing I fear most is death. But once I can rid myself of that fear, I understand even more about this world and the lessons it teaches us through these current events.
Now is the time to find purpose and explore our lives that the world is offering us for free.
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The Reality of COVID and What Could Have Been

By Vanessa Martinez , PHOTO EDITOR
Imagine an orca at SeaWorld, who has been kept in captivity with only limited space to swim around. That’s exactly how I’ve felt during my time in quarantine, having limited places to go to and really not being able to go anywhere. I do understand that the point of staying in is to prevent the chances of us getting the virus and to prevent the spread of it. For many of us staying indoors for this long can take a toll on people’s mental health along with other important health issues. Just like how it’s not ideal for an Orca to be kept in captivity, it’s not ideal for humans to stay indoors for this long either.Please Read More

Life before quarantine was fun. I was finishing up my final semester at CSUEB, I was also creating my final memories on our campus. I looked forward to attending class. I enjoyed learning something new every day. It was nice having something to wake up to and knowing I had a full day of things to do. The most important thing for me was just being able to interact with everyone on campus.
I was definitely looking forward to walking on that stage on May 16th and to have my family come to see me graduate. I was excited to see my fellow classmates and the friends I had in my classes. I’m sure we can all agree we miss the classroom setting now that we’re away from it, but I know for many, we still don’t enjoy the assignments that we have to do in quarantine.
Despite the load of assignments, we have had something bigger to stress about and that is the Coronavirus and how rapidly it has spread. Sadly, it made its way overseas and into the United States. Before we knew it, on March 15th spring semester had come to an end on campus and would be taught online.
The following week, I packed a few things and headed back home to SoCal. I only packed a few things thinking it was only going to last a couple of months, however, I did not expect to get an email explaining that classes were going to be taught online for the rest of the semester and that I had to move out of my dorm! I went back to the Bay to move the rest of my things and was reminded of the last episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air where Will Smith was saying goodbye to his uncle’s and aunt’s house. That’s how I felt.
It was time to get used to the idea that my classes were going to be taught online. I took an online class before, so I understood the concept of what had to be done, but to have the rest of the semester be taught like this was interesting.
Knowing that my graduation was postponed, I had no desire or motivation to do any of my class work. Being at home has been really draining emotionally and mentally. All I want to do is sleep and I’m not the type of person, who enjoys being indoors and sleeping. I enjoyed the whole process of dressing up for class. What would be the point of it all now?Some may say I’m being dramatic. I can understand why, but for a student to transfer from a Community College and be the first in her family to attend a four-year university, it is upsetting to accept that graduation is postponed. Plus, I cannot look forward to attending all senior festivities that all seniors look forward to. I’ve been trying to cope and I’ve come around to the idea that I won’t be having any of these moments and will figure out a way to celebrate at home.
The environment is different now. People are dying and so we have to make the best of it. Classes online seem like a small price to pay when you put it all into context. In my opinion, I found it helpful to know that no matter what I had to get myself up for class and attend, virtually.
It’s all so confusing. I was debating whether to attend class at all. Would it even matter to anyone whether I show up? Will zoom really work? But pushing myself to go, really helped give me a purpose, to keep on going, even if I don’t have a ceremony.
I also know I am not alone because I have the encouragement of our teachers and classmates. It’s not easy for teachers knowing that their students have may have lost their motivation to keep on going. It must be hard for them to stay engaged. I thank my professors who are constantly asking us how we’re doing and trying their best to make the situation the best it can be. My glass is half full.
During my free time I have had the time to do things I’ve been dying to do that I could not do while I was in school. I can watch some television shows and movies. I’ve taken my sketchbook out again. I am doing some deep spring cleaning. I have gone out on long walks.
People on social media are saying that our time during quarantine is a time to pick up a new hobby or build a summer body. But then I remember that people are dying. But new hobbies and a summer body maybe can help us get through this very hard time, to feel sane.
It’s crazy to see how fast everything happened. It happened overnight. When I was still living on campus, I was scrolling through my social media and watching videos of people fighting over toilet paper. I laughed about it. Who would have thought the number one thing that everyone was going to fight over were packages of toilet paper?! I also remember going to the grocery store with my friend and roommate to grab a few things and seeing the water section completely empty. This is like a scene straight out of a movie.
Recently, I went to Trader Joe’s. When I first got there, there was a line of people already lined up. Each person was standing on an X, making sure that each was keeping their distance. TJ’s was only letting 15 people in at a time, and if you wanted a shopping cart you had to wait until you got to the front of the line since every cart was getting sanitized after every use.
While I was waiting, this older lady, who maybe was in her 80’s, talked to me about when she was a little girl living in the United Kingdom during World War II. She told me how everyone was looking for food, then explained how it was never like this, meaning people never lined up at the stores. She said even after the attack on Pearl Harbor, people still did not line up like this.
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The Four Stages of COVID

By Vina Nguyen , CONTRIBUTOR
At the beginning of the new year, I thought that this year was going to be a good one. I had some new goals set for myself and plans that I thought out for the year. One thing I was looking forward to was being able to walk in the commencement ceremony during the spring with my fellow classmates. I would have been able to walk early and come back the next semester for my final semester, but that changed. Due to COVID-19, I feel like I have lost a part of my life. Just when I started to see the positive and bright side of things, the world around me started going dim.Please Read More

Denial. I remember at the beginning of the year, the coronavirus was being talked about. It was talked about on the news and they said that it started in China. I kept seeing videos and photos of the affected elderly on all of the social media platforms that I went on. It was honestly horrific and scary to learn about how this virus was killing thousands of people in China. Despite seeing what I saw online, I still didn’t believe how dangerous it was. I was in denial. I honestly brushed it off and continued to live my normal life. I would see new videos and photos here and there, but did not think much of it. I did not want to believe that it was real so I tried to avoid it.
As time went by, things started to get pretty serious in the United States. Cases of the coronavirus were on the rise. I remember learning about new cases almost every day. It really started to hit me when I learned about the first case of COVID-19 reaching the Bay Area. This is home to me, so it was scary. I think it was even scarier for me when the big cruise shipped arrived back in San Francisco. I read that many people on the ship had the virus and thought about what it must’ve been like stuck on the ship.
March 15th was my last day of work, and I didn’t realize it at the time. I was at a family restaurant and ice creamery called Knudsen’s Ice Creamery. I had worked there for almost two years and worked as a server. I remember my last few days being really slow. Slower than usual on already typically slow days. Our regulars weren’t coming in anymore, and that’s when you know it’s serious. I no longer had a job, but I still had school. Or so I thought.
Α few days after losing my source of income, students were no longer allowed to go on campus to their classes. All students went from going to classes on campus every week to having online classes on Zoom. It was such a quick and difficult transition for most of us. I personally like in-person classes because I get to interact with my classmates and my professors. I believe that there is more structure and guidance with in-person classes. Going on campus was also an escape from home and work for me.
Anger. Without working and going to school like normal, I started to feel different. I felt a lot of anger, frustration, and anxiety with the changes in my life. I no longer was able to make money. My education is now all online, which I hate. I couldn’t see my friends anymore. Plans for this year were all canceled by default. Having a face mask and wearing gloves is now my new reality. The number one thing that I am angry and frustrated about is not being able to walk across the stage for my 80-year-old grandma to see. I have been looking forward to this moment ever since she found out that I was accepted into college. She has always encouraged me to do well in school for the sake of my future. She wants me to succeed in life and now she won’t be able to see her granddaughter in a cap and gown holding a degree. My grandma is old and has health issues with her heart and I fear that she won’t be able to see me graduate, ever.
My brother is in the same boat as me. He would have been graduating from high school this June but it does not look like that will happen either. We just want to make her proud and bring her joy.
Depression. Being in quarantine and limited from doing things I used to do, I struggled to see the bright side of the whole situation. There were new COVID cases and deaths every day, which made it hard to be positive. Once I transitioned into online classes, it got very hard for me. Online classes and I never work out. I started struggling with staying on top of my school work and I believe that many other students struggled too. I couldn’t see myself doing well with schoolwork during the quarantine. I had no motivation for anything and started to not care about school. I saw a lot of the people that I cared about struggling as well, which hurt me. I don’t like seeing people I love in pain and I always try to help. My mom isn’t working as much during this time, which makes it hard for her to find money to pay the bills and care for my brother and I.
With millions of Americans out of work, just paying for the necessities is hard. I was at Safeway one night grocery shopping and I saw this couple trying to steal a cart full of laundry detergent and food. Luckily, a worker caught them right when they tried to run out with the cart. Stealing is wrong, but I definitely do feel bad for those who can’t afford any food and necessities right now.
Acceptance. I am at a place where I have fully accepted that this is my life for now. I can’t do anything, but move forward with life because I can’t do anything to change my life back to how it was. I understand that my life right now is not going to be like this forever, which makes me feel better. We all have to push through this until things get better! I’ve been out of work for about two months now, but I am receiving unemployment money, which I am very lucky to have. I am able to buy groceries for my family.
There are only two weeks of school left, which makes me excited. I am pushing through these last few weeks and then I can finally have a break. Being out of work has allowed me to gravitate my focus towards school more, which is a good thing. I know that right now is a hard time for everyone. Everyone has their own struggles at the moment, but it’s important that as a society, we all care for each other. We all have to be extra cautious when we go out for food and groceries. Being in quarantine allows us to focus on our health a little bit more and that’s a good thing, too. Instead of thinking that we are stuck at home, we should shift our mindset and think about how lucky we are to be safe at home. Essential workers are putting their health on the line for all of us and it is important that we show them the appreciation that they deserve. Everyone should stay healthy, stay safe, and keep moving forward in life. Things will get better!

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COVID Through a Political Lens

By Alvin Jackson , CONTRIBUTOR
It has been a month since we have been locked down and I cannot explain how tired I am. Between the lack of toilet paper at grocery stores and a total disregard for human lives by our federal government, I am tired. According to news reports, all of this could’ve been avoided if President Trump had acted faster.Please Read More

I watch updates from the local, state, and federal government everyday. I am very impressed by our state and local leadership. Mayor London Breed recognized a deadly virus that was getting spread through the community via social interaction. She immediately called for a shelter in place in San Francisco, which put the rest of the Bay Area on notice. Days later, the state government called for a shelter in place as well. Governor Gavin Newsom is doing a great job, but the London Breed administration deserves so much credit.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff also made an amazing decision to close streets to cars in order to allow social distancing in neighborhoods with the goal to decrease car travel and give more space to residents. I hope this is a long term plan. Oakland is also planning to get rid of ‘beg buttons’ at street lights. This move is supposed to stop the spread of Covid-19. I alway thought those buttons were a breeding ground for germs. Good riddance, germs!
One of the things I do notice,is the coddling of the New York Governor. He acted far slower than we did here in California and that resulted in thousands of deaths. New York also has nearly five times as much foot traffic as we do and to see the lack of urgency from Governor Andrew Cuomo was appalling. One thing New York can do, and we’ve seen it historically done, is mobilize the police to protect social order. When social order is disrupted it leaves people confused and scrambling to get by. A city with millions of people should not be short on ventilators. If Governor Newsom can provide us with so many, why is New York slacking?
California, and the Bay Area, specifically, has made national news for the last four years. Immigration, human rights, public health, and housing have been what has made us the leader and the world’s 5th largest economy. Without the Bay Area there is no world’s 5th largest economy.
I live in an increasingly African American suburb of the Bay Area. Jobs here rely on the people who commute back to our town after their work day is done in San Francisco. That’s a drain on people. Covid-19 adds another dimension to the strain and stress on life. Don’t get me wrong. I love not riding BART one hundred miles a day to and from school. I love saving money. I love having time to try new foods. I love to live life without the physical demands of capitalism. I love waking up and not getting out of bed until noon everyday. Covid-19 has given us the opportunity to shape a new reality for ourselves and for the betterment of society. We now have the chance to create new communities after this emergency.
Our transit agencies can’t handle free bus rides everyday but ‘free bus friday’ should be a thing across the country. Hazard pay should already be given to us. Worker protections should be stricter. CEOs, in many cases, need to be fired or jailed and company boards need reforming. Low-wage jobs should not exist in this country. We should demand an end to the 40 hour work week and to invest heavily in our hospitals.
I firmly believe libraries should never be closed in a crisis. Libraries are tax- funded community centers and should be utilized to their maximum capacity in order to effectively serve the public. Food banks should have brick and mortar locations in low income communities. Americans should always receive money that is rightfully theirs. The disrespect this country continues to show to our farm workers should outrage everyone and it is our moral imperative to demand better for them. We need to demand an investment in affordable housing. Most importantly, we need to demand a better healthcare system for every single person in this country.
In addition to the realization of this pandemic, I have realized my place in the world as a millennial. I feel like I have lived through four decades in less than thirty years of life. Two of those four decades included an economic decline. How is my generation supposed to have anything? The people in charge are boomers who have had the luxury of enjoying nearly thirty years of economic expansion and do not realize that the bootstraps we’ve been told to pull up, have broken off.
My brother is not a millennial so his experience might be a little different than mine. He works at the local KFC two days a week and makes a little over minimum wage. He says business has declined.
My mom’s new reality is altered the most. As a baby boomer, her reality shaped the world we know today. Her generation was the beneficiary of every social program to ever exist in this country. She works three hours a day and gets paid for a full time job. She is very, very slow to learn that your job and a routine that has defined your life is no longer an asset in the greater scheme of things. All of it was made up to compensate for the lack of inaction by capitalists to do better by us. The systems they put in place were flawed from day one. I hope the coronavirus brings capitalism to its knees so that we can create a new normal that everyone can benefit from, regardless of race and economic status.
Speaking of baby boomers, our President is one, so is it safe to say baby boomers have no real grip on reality. From opposing new, affordable housing in neighborhoods, to responding to a global pandemic, baby boomers are taking us down with them and it is so unfair. They failed to deliver an equitable future for everyone else. They don’t see themselves as selfish after hoarding resources for themselves with no intent of sharing them with everyone else who has come after them.
I do believe we will get through this health crisis better than we went into it. However, our new reality must come with a set of non-negotiable demands in order to secure a stable future. The dropping out of Bernie Sanders from the presidential race was a huge blow to our future, but I have confidence in Joe Biden. Our future may now be in his hands.

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Finding Gratitude in Quarantine

By Steven Ochoa, CONTRIBUTOR
Before Covid-19 introduced itself to the United States, many American’s did not think or care to believe that this virus could bring this country to its knees. The American government has gently eased the American population into shelter-in-place orders, but it has taken a while for some governors to get a clue. President Donald Trump did not take this issue seriously as the coronavirus began to spread across the United States. President Trump repeatedly insisted that there was nothing to worry about. Two months later, the United States became the first country in the world with more than 800,000 cases.Please Read More

Life before shelter-in-place orders, pre-COVID-19, seemed as if life itself was moving too fast. I remember feeling that there was not enough time in the day to get everything done. While my work and school schedules were butting heads, it felt like my senior year in college was breezing by. As a commuter student at Cal State East Bay, I would spend my mornings in traffic to make my 10 am classes, afternoons would be spent in the classroom or at the track for a run during my breaks in between classes, and after classes were done, I would spend many long evenings in the library to catch up on school work and reading just to wait out the traffic in order to have a smooth ride back home.
During my last semester at Cal State East Bay, I had the opportunity to be a part of the campus radio show “East Bay Live” that was run by Mr. Kevin Pina and the students. Beginning that week (Monday, March 2nd) I knew nothing about the coronavirus and did not think much of it or that it would even have a chance of spreading to the United States. That Tuesday (March 4th) before class, Mr. Pina showed us an email from CSUEB President Leroy Morishita about the possibility of the campus being closed and shut down due to COVID-19.
The following week CSUEB suspended in-person classes as of March 11th. After classes were moved online, things still did not sink in. It was not until one night for Dr. Cardaras’ Social Justice and Journalism class when we had to do research and watch a few videos about COVID-19 that something began to click. It was that night when I scared myself with the videos and things I learned about the virus.
The next morning, I woke up feeling weird. I felt nauseous. I had a knot in my stomach, still shocked, from what I watched. My mother had been dealing with a cold at the time. She could not shake it. I remember my mom being sick in mid-January, nothing out of the norm. A cold, some congestion, sniffles, and sneezing, which would later develop and turn into a cough. My mother was dealing with this cold she could not shake in January, which carried into the month February.
I work at a grocery store. After watching those videos about COVID, I was very afraid that I might have brought the coronavirus home to my mother. I began to worry that my mother was sick with the virus. I was nervous, scared, and anxious that this virus had already entered my home and gotten to my mother all because of me. My grandfather is a diabetic, who lives with me. He is a double amputee with congestive heart failure, which means he has water around his lungs. With my fear, I did want to risk the possibility of contracting the virus myself or being asymptomatic and bringing that to my grandfather because of his pre-existing conditions. I decided to resign from my job at Raley’s to protect my family’s health and mine.
Thankfully around the end of March, my mother was doing better and her symptoms began to fade away. This was after I brought home a vitamin C immunity boost from the grocery store for my parents and I. Not saying it was the cure, but I do believe the vitamin C immunity boost helped get rid of what my mother could not get rid of on her own. After that, I became calmer. Less anxiety. Less worry. Those frightening voices were put to rest. My mother feels like she might of a had a bad sinus infection, but who knows. All I know is I am thankful that my mother and family are doing fine and that is what is important.
The first three weeks of quarantine were not bad at all. In my opinion, the first couple of weeks went pretty smoothly because it was about finding things or tasks to do to keep me busy throughout the week. During the first week I decided to focus on the things I felt like I had no time for previously, which were my family, my hobbies, my school work and, most importantly, just re-adjusting to a new kind of living. I cleaned my room! Actually, I’m pretty good at keeping my room clean.  My parents have always loved that about me, but I had been wanting to change my room up and get rid of unused clothes for the longest time. This was the time for a total reset.
Before spring break, I chose to dedicate my time to my interests. Being at home I had the chance to now spend time on small side projects. I created a couple of mixes, curated some playlists and worked on some editing in Lightroom. It was a blast! The quarantine cranked open my creativity by removing all the clutter and distractions. It has helped me focus on other things I enjoy. I did take the spring break!
Coming back from spring break, however, I found it a bit more difficult to bounce back to my school work. I felt a lack of motivation to start my assignments. I did climb out of that slump and got back on the pony. This by far has been the most interesting school year of my life! I think that this time has made me fundamentally question what being productive really means.
Talking with a close cousin of mine the other night, we were saying that we have been fortunate that everyone we love has good health. We’ve been able to use this time to work on ourselves, to self-reflect and think about how we can come out of this period in history to be better human beings. In that sense, I think it has helped us completely shift what we see as what is most important and most valuable in life. With all this this time that we never have, we can work on ourselves, learn new skills, and strengthen our relationships with friends and family. That is what I would say are the most important aspects of life under quarantine.
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Isolation and Uncertainty

By Natalie Garcia , CONTRIBUTOR
Corona. A virus whose name is associated with good times, celebrations, and gatherings, but in fact, has impacted the entire world in the opposite way. The Coronavirus pandemic has separated people physically, disrupted economies, drastically increased unemployment, and has isolated humans from their daily means of income, interaction, and resources. Please Read More

The whole world, let alone our own nation’s instability, has failed to provide basic resources for its people in a time of crisis. Death tolls rise and our hope of ever recovering to live our normal lives diminishes each day the quarantine lockdown is enforced.
As each individual state scrambles to find solutions, for multiple government financial programs, medical protocols, and public policies that serve the best interest of the people, the uncertainty of when the economy will reopen mains a question.
As a resident of Stanislaus County, within the city of Modesto, California, I have been forced to file for unemployment, which has drastically impacted my lifestyle. It is stress on all our society to think about the increasing numbers of unemployment claims and the uncertainty of the future.
In a world where isolation and stay at home orders are enforced, people are seeking answers from their government in a time of desperate need. The stimulus check of $1200 that the federal government granted its people has allowed families to survive the economic shutdown for essentials such as food, and assistance for monthly bills.
I feel that our government is facing big problems, because it is not able to provide the amount of support people need, which is food, money, and support for the stress they are under.
I am grateful that, although I took a financial hit during this time, my state officials in California granted me some relief through rent forgiveness and other extended payment deadlines for the monthly bills I have. Governor Newsom has addressed the needs of the residents of California every single day with updates about the virus and when things might return to normal. Still, we don’t know how our economy will be rebuilt.
The government is searching for the new normal. It is to the point where communities, small and large, must prepare for alternative ways to operate after we figure out the impact of this virus so that they can bounce back and find ways to increase revenue. What will that look like? Researchers, analysts, and academic institutions must re-organize and re-group in order to find the way forward and a the new normal.
The experience of lockdown in quarantine has impacted people emotionally, physically, and mentally. With social distancing, we are forced to separate from all physical aspects of one another. This means that with no social gatherings humans are left to stay disconnected from friends, families, and experiencing life in social settings. This is crucial because we as humans learn valuable lessons through socializing and encountering other beings, but with a lockdown in place, we have disconnected and are left to ponder with unanswerable questions.
This experience is like no other I have ever lived through. The fear and frustration grows larger with every passing day. It is emotionally draining to realize the impact and damage many are facing just to survive each day of this pandemic.
We, as a society prior to the outbreak, were so consumed by materialistic matters, and distractions that took us away from focusing on the meaning of life and seeking to improve all aspects of our society. From money hungry corporations, to issues regarding immigration at our borders, things seem even more complicated now. After the lockdown was put into play, perilous times overwhelmed the world with the birth of this virus.
Restrictions and statewide lockdowns have been enforced with the intention of reducing the spread of the Coronavirus. The illusion of going through the same crisis together gives people a sense of security knowing they are not being singled out, but everyone’s experience impacts them differently.
As I record each passing day of this lockdown and the never ending thoughts that fill my head, I am very conscious that, “We all are going through the same storm, but are not all in the same boat.” While thousands of people struggle to find a sense of normalcy, it is cumbersome to those who feel alone with their thoughts. We cannot allow crumble by the power of this virus. We must overcome it.Read Less


My Reality As I See It

By Lillian Follrath , CONTRIBUTOR
Midway through my personal COVID-19 crisis diary for my Journalism and Social Justice class, under the direction of Professor Mary Cardaras, my journaling took an ideological turn. When I began, I thought journaling, and action-journaling, my thoughts and concerns were very school and assignment based. However, it is far too often that we make the decision to ignore the personal worries and issues before us by covering them over with our immediate anxieties. Please Read More

In the midst of such a strange social and political climate, through the quiet chaos of the pandemic, my laptop broke and I was moved into isolated living after potential exposure to the virus. During this time of isolation, and after repairing my laptop and accepting that unexpected expenditures are not the end of the world, I have undergone my own crisis emotions, as I struggle with negative thinking, and what it means to learn to be positive. In attending online Zoom discussions, providing various emotional group support, I have begun to grasp a vague notion of just the tip of the iceberg about my mental health and wellness.
Any animal with a brain possesses the capacity to think. Humans, however, are special in that they have profound processing abilities. They process personal identity, sexual orientation, and other very complex issues, which tend to separate us into different ideological identity groups.
A note I made on March 29 about being in line at Trader Joe’s: “Today I got to Trader Joe’s, an hour before opening, and was third in line. Twenty minutes later, about 20 people or so filed into a second line on the opposite side of the door. I realized there were two lines, one designated for 62-year-olds and older. TJ’s did not ask for ID, but let in a group of about 25 of us at once, 5 younger than 62.”
This experience implies so much ignorance about not considering the health-impaired and not trusting a company to properly monitor its policy. I suspected that some people in the other line were lying in implying special issues, such as age and health of a person. What if there is high risk in allowing nurses and doctors to mingle amongst senior citizens in an environment where Trader Joe’s promotes its new system to protect seniors? I am negative in my judgement, to assume that someone would take advantage of TJ’s pandemic shopping protocols. I didn’t fairly consider someone could have cancer or an auto-immune disorder, both of which are invisible.
As my isolation progressed, I learned how to cook, shop, occupy time, and I learned about mindfulness and what it brings. Mindfulness can be provoked by a pivotal life event, a lesson you thought you learned when a ball drops, but the real lesson usually comes a couple months later, when you feel the emotional or social repercussions of whatever went down. Sometimes we aren’t willing to admit that we have a problem, and it manifests itself into an even larger issue, much tougher to solve at it builds, internally.
On March 31 I wrote: “I’ve been trying to find peace of mind.” This statement is important to me because it’s both shaky and resistant. “Trying” implies it’s a task not yet sure of completion, and the word “find,” proceeding peace of mind, implies that it can be plucked like a rose or an apple from a bowl. If I could answer myself then, with what I know now I’d say, “Look for it where you know it (peace of mind) could be.” By my count, I have made around nine important personal goal proclamations in my crisis journal. Five of them are preceded by the whispered, “I’m going to try”. Trying does not reflect success. Achieving “success” is something we all struggle with while we slowly forget the importance of also building self-confidence and cultivating self-love.
On April 8, I wrote, at a particularly lonely and pessimistic time, “It’s good to be hearing from classmates, and knowing that they’re safe. I’ve been having some weird dreams about people I haven’t thought of in a long time, and because I have withdrawn, without conviction, from social media, I know nothing of what they’re doing or if they’re okay. It’s a strange feeling that makes the stress of the pandemic more real”. I regard this glass half empty/half full statement as assuming disaster and futile.
I have two semesters left at Cal State East Bay, Hayward. Even if both of them are spent commuting over Zoom, I can say that would match an economic climate consistent with my current living abilities. Reaching out, especially in the era of the pandemic, is something that must be done.
On April 11, I wrote, in a panic, “Preparing mentally to find out what classes I am taking next semester and how many classes I have left, but also wondering if school will even let us back next semester at all. Will it be safe?” I always have anxiety before registering for next semester’s classes, but this season was particularly hard for me. I feel that I tossed myself into a personal crisis, which I never could have foreseen to be also beneficial for my mental health and attitude. Panic re-inflates in importance as it is highlighted by our worst fears and anxieties. Finding acceptance in the present and allowing it to overcome your fear, leads you to realize that fear is just ineffective maintenance… irrational and blocking emotions.
I think the coolest thing about the psycho-education group I’ve attended for the past few weeks, is that it relates complex psychological concepts with basic living experiences. When I relate concepts from this group, to the concepts from the anxiety group counseling, which I also attend three days a week, I find that crossing knowledge with emotion can yield a result that can help any lifestyle. No matter who you are, would you deny occasional feelings of intense stress resulting from personally evolving events? Maybe, maybe not. But simply denying or accepting an unhealthy mental state does nothing to benefit emotional progress.
I also had the privilege of doing an internship at KPFA under the supervision of teacher Kevin Pina. This helped with opening my mind to positive thinking and open mindedness. Open mindedness is a broad concept, but it helps in the realm of self-acceptance. I know that I have begun to transform my thinking about the personal issues, which are at the forefront of my life. In my internship, I am creating a podcast of my choosing. I have chosen to focus on stories about positive mental health development.
All of the greats, the old timers, and the experts will tell you that your best work can be accomplished when you least expect it. Progress and change can be scary as you consider the future, but it depends on your outlook. So, when we look to the future, is it important whether we look at it with negativity or positivity. But there will be a little bit of both in everything, which is why there really is no such thing as purely good or wholly evil thinking. These various decibels of dissonance follow us always. The way we react to dissonance is our choice.
Confidence crumbles slowly and quickly.
On March 30, I wrote, “I’m going to try to get out and be social…” and on April 1, “… I am trying to regain my sanity.” Another word that I considered in my journaling was “realize”. What did that mean? A realization is defined as a contemplation you haven’t had before, based on an utterance, a thought, or event. Many personal realizations come from specific personal dissonances. As I go through my journal, when I said I had “realized” or “had the thought” of something or other, those were usually associated with negativity. Think of your attitude like a stamp, and every altercation you have, as a letter. It’s better to send out a letter with more positive stamps than negatively-associated letters. This metaphor should be applied to the attitude you apply to your thoughts and actions. Without judgment, you should calculate for yourself which emotions you are operating under.
This is small level stuff. Humming a tune down the street won’t convince everyone that this could be a good day. The most significant thing about my reaction to my present reality, is that I choose not to narrate my physical pandemic-crisis journey, but instead my mental development during this unprecedented time.
Sometimes a journey to mental wellness is itself unprecedented. I feel that, until recently, I was unaware of how unhappy and displaced I was really feeling. The fact remains that I am not any less uncertain of myself. The change I am experiencing most is in how I feel about myself and the reality that I experience. I have the ability to choose the way I live and feel, no matter the shape tomorrow will take.
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