Pierce Pioneer

Quarantining Making Us Apathetic to Crime?

Crime rates continue to spike in Pierce and King County, yet support for these issues seem minimal

I began my morning the usual way, which involved waking up early to take my dog out. I walked down my steps to take her to the courtyard, only to be stopped in my tracks upon a realization — my car was not where I parked it last night.

I questioned myself at first; I must have parked it somewhere else and clearly forgot. I grabbed my keys so I could press the lock button and hear my car alarm sound off, only when I did so the sound never came. I circled the parking lot for about five minutes, growing frantic as I searched for my car to no avail. It soon became clear that my car had been stolen.

Since beginning quarantining in late March of 2020, support for crimes have felt “off” in general. Understandably, with COVID running rampant it makes sense that many officials have fires needing to be put out. But it doesn’t change the fact that with everything going on, finding support, especially for crime related concerns, feels at its lowest lately.

“In October, the FBI reported that the homicide rate across the country between January and June rose 15% compared to the same time period in 2019. In Seattle, the increase has been even greater. In 2019, there were 28 homicides in Seattle. That number has nearly doubled, with 55 homicides reported this year.” ”

— Vanessa Misciagna, King5 News

When I contacted officials, the police issued out a missing car report and that was that; from there it became a waiting game. My apartment landlords, however, were less than helpful; they had no idea what happened, and because they don’t fund any form of security on their sites — such as security patrolling our ungated community at night or even just camera installation — there was nothing that could be done on their end. 

Not even a month later on Jan. 26 my boyfriend Carl, who lives with me, had his work van broken into and all his tools stolen on the same lot. We didn’t even bother notifying the police or our apartment that time; we kind of just knew nothing could be done about it.

One thing I began questioning the day my car was stolen was the overall safety of my neighborhood. Was Lakewood always this bad, or has COVID and quarantining simply made some people become desperate thieves? It turns out, there is in fact a trend between the two, according to data provided by neighborhoodscout.com.

Residents in Lakewood have a one and 22 chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crimes as of 2020, with crime rates ranging around 46 per one thousand residents. With this, Vanessa Misciagna from King5 News also reports a rise in homicides in Tacoma during 2020, with these statistics not being seen since the early 90’s.

It is possible that part of the reason for the spike in crime is reactionary to a number of misfortunes caused from quarantining. Jason Rantz from MyNorthwest speculates that crime rates have increased due to a lack of people outside due to restrictions.

“When you look at the precincts most impacted by the burglaries, they tend to have normally busy business districts,” Rantz stated. “But at a time where there is no one around, they’re easier targets for burglaries.”

While crime rates may have gone up due to the window-of-opportunity increasing itself for criminals, I feel as though there is more to why this is happening. Since COVID began, it was mass reported that many individuals were put out of work due to restrictions. 

According to PewSocialTrends.org and the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, around 25 million Americans have filed for unemployment, with this number only continuing to increase as time passes. “Overall, one-in-four adults have had trouble paying their bills since the coronavirus outbreak started,” PST stated.

With this information in mind, it makes sense that more desperate behaviors and crimes of theft have begun to increase. Many people are most likely simply trying to make ends meet, and thus may have gone to stealing from their own communities as a way to survive.

Despite the hardships many of us are facing during these times however, I find theft amongst our community to be highly deplorable and inexcusable. Job loss or even death in one’s family does not give one the right to steal one’s property or harm another individual. I myself have been struggling with keeping up with rent and small bills that I’ve never had issues with paying before, but I have not used this struggle to further disadvantage others.

The area of Lakewood I lived in wasn’t immune to crime, but I never thought I’d be a victim to it. But what hurt most was how helpless and violated the incident left me feeling. In a way, it felt as though the theft were my own fault and absolutely unpreventable.

Days after my car was stolen, I felt as though the last slither of my motivation for that horrid year had finally given way. I felt I couldn’t focus on work and I ended up dropping my fall classes due to all the stress. While my insurance company was very supportive of the incident, I still couldn’t shake the fact that I’d been robbed and something that was once mine was probably gone for good.

I never ended up getting my car back; it was filed as a loss and to this day I am still car shopping. But what this incident has truly left for me, is the idea that justice and resources for crime-related concerns during the pandemic feel minimal. 

Calling 911 and contacting the police, while being something you should absolutely do if faced with a crime, won’t magically fix the situation. But if there’s anything the year 2020 has taught me, it’s that this year is truly unnatural and I am not the only one being affected negatively by it.

Some advice I had to tell myself that day is that things can happen that are out of my control, but regardless I have to continue doing what needs to be done in my life. It took me a few weeks to get out of my funk, but I’ve since been taking classes again and working normally, thanks to the support of my family. 

Finding that motivation isn’t a quick process by any means, but it’s something that just has to be done during this pandemic.

The pandemic’s impact on seasonal depression and mental health overall

A year defined by loneliness and anxiety, but also resilience is finally behind us.

Over the past few months, there were days that I would suddenly have dark thoughts. I’d be in the middle of homework and suddenly think, “Why am I doing this? What’s the point?” and then continue before stopping shortly after because I lost my motivation.

It’s no surprise that 2020 became sluggish towards the end. With the days getting shorter approaching the winter solstice, it’s important to shed light on something that affects up to one in 10 people in the Pacific Northwest—Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

SAD is just one part of the bigger conversation around mental health. Though the stigma around it has gone down, it’s far from gone. As quarantine fatigue lingers, it’s more important than ever that we normalize discussion around mental health. 

SAD is characterised as a depression that comes around during certain parts of the year; usually during the winter months. There are many similarities between SAD and clinical depression, but what differentiates them is that SAD has a pattern. 

According to Faculty Counselor Jennifer Wright, the most common symptom is a lack of motivation. Grief and loss are common themes that people with SAD express, whether it be direct or indirect.

For Megan Irby, Faculty Counselor, she feels that quarantine will only make the effects of SAD worse for those experiencing it. “Everything has been exacerbated by the quarantine, especially with the second wave and more limitations,” Irby said.

“People are starting to get out a little bit more, [but] now with the new restrictions, they won’t have as many options to see people. It is going to get worse for people that already struggle with it.”

I myself wonder if people with SAD have noticed a difference between this winter and last winter. Is it hard to tell what is causing a lack of motivation? Or is last winter just a blur that no one remembers? 

According to Jennifer Wright, she doesn’t hear a trend one way or another. “[On] the flip side of that, I wonder if people were already so well practiced at it that it’s like, ‘Eh, I’m already used to being indoors,’” Wright said.

I try not to self diagnose. I don’t know if others have had similar feelings or what caused them. What I do know is that my feelings happened and that the pandemic might’ve been a factor. 

Covid fatigue is a pain. The past year felt like a jumbled mess to me, which is why it’s been hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I’m going through. So, I stick with what I know. I started writing down my thoughts in a journal so I can look back for patterns. This isn’t an immediate solution; it’s going to take some time.

There are things you can do if you suspect you have SAD. According to Irby—if you’re able—getting your blood levels check during a doctor visit can tell you if there are any deficiencies. Taking vitamin D supplements is a good idea for anyone living in the Pacific Northwest since we don’t get much natural sunlight. There are also light boxes that mimic sunlight on places like Amazon.

While discussing the stigma around mental health, Faculty Counselor Brenda Rogers mentions how she wants mental health to be an easier topic to talk about. “I wish seeing a counselor seemed like a tool—like having a trainer [at the gym],” Rogers said.

The conversation around mental health needs to be normalized. Speaking from personal experience, it’s no coincidence that Millennials and Gen Z joke about their mental health; It’s our way of coping. 

Even before the pandemic hit, the rate of depression among teens and young adults was on the rise. As an Asian-American student, I’m too familiar with how mental health issues are brushed to the side by family. 

Pierce College has a website with mental health resources and counselors who provide short-term therapy. I have been seeing a counselor for a couple months now and would honestly recommend it even if you don’t think what you’re going through is ‘serious enough.’

To say quarantine sucks is an oversimplification. The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, whether they admit it or not. “If someone’s telling me, ‘I feel great! Everything is fine.’ I don’t believe them,” Wright said. “Nobody should be feeling fine right now, that’s not normal. It’s ok [not feeling fine], we’re in this together, and this is a time to support and love one another.”

You don’t always have to keep your chin up; what you feel is what you feel. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Whether it’s to the resources listed above to your friends. Brighter days—quite literally—lay ahead.

Writer Lizbeth Martinez Santos shares her New Year Resolution and its potential for others to stay motivated during these hard times in 2021.

My boyfriend Victor and I made a plan together that we have followed this week. This plan consists of waking up at 6 in the morning, keeping track of the time and healthy habits such as cleaning, doing homework, drinking water, eating and exercising on schedule. This is our New Year resolution.

For many people, New Year’s resolutions are a goal or something you tell yourself you want to accomplish that year. To me it’s more than a goal; it’s a promise, something I will do. It’s not going to stay in a closed book, I will open it and fill it up with each step taken. So let’s start together!

With the right resources and people by your side, you can accomplish anything. I am no professional, but one thing we all need this year is motivation. Rather than leaving our goals in a closed book, let’s open them and fill it with each step we take! You are not alone. I write this for you because I want you to know you’re not alone just like I am not. 

2020 has taken too much from all of us and brought so much loss. According to UAB Medicine, only 8% or less Americans actually stick to their resolution each year, 2020 being partly the blame. In another article published by Stanford Medicine, it explains that due to COVID-19 many people have been having symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is due to a number of reasons, ranging from the loss of a loved one or job, to schools being closed due to the pandemic.

Knowing this information gives me more motivation to keep on going with my resolutions, to improve my health and give others an opportunity to make their own resolutions and accomplish them.

Having something or someone to remind you why you’re doing this and to push you so you keep doing it truly helps. I say this because for me personally the only reason I haven’t given up is because of Victor. 

He is my person, the one who gives me motivation to keep pushing myself. The main reason I created this resolution was to find myself again; I have lost who I was these past years due to my worsening depression and anxiety, as well as my own short-comings getting the best of me. 

Yet because of certain people in my life I was able to get back up and take control of my life again. This plan has helped me realize that I have more time than I thought to do everything I need for school or work. To organize myself to give me time to focus on my health as well.

Not only did I get happier from the plan I made. I learned from this article called, The Science of Motivation. It states that motivation not only gives us support but it’s a chemical in our brains that helps us more than we know. This chemical is called Dopamin. When we perform a task before rewarding oneself, it tells our brain that if we finish this task something good will happen. Which then goes to our whole body.

You can do so much, the first step is believing in yourself and that it’s ok to be vulnerable and to ask for help. This is one reason why I stayed on the path I am now, I kept on pushing myself to show that I am better than others think I am. I asked and looked for help, which just encouraged me more

I know times are tough right now but if you believe in yourself and push through. The results will be worth it trust me, I feel so much better and happier now that I am active and finishing my work on time. I am more organized than I was before, by putting my health before anything else made me feel so much different in a good way.

Some days are bad, and I feel like giving up. But what pushes me to succeed is knowing I am not the only one. I will keep on going to help you and give you the motivation to get up and do what you always wanted to do but never did because you thought you couldn’t. Well you can and will!

 

COVID Affecting the Holiday Spirit

How online shopping and COVID restrictions is affecting our yearly holiday festivities

This time of year my family would be overjoyed with the Christmas spirit. We’d watch movies and drink hot chocolate together as we’d happily wrap gifts for everyone. But now it’s different; I feel depressed and not in the mood to do anything festive this year.

This is especially the case after Thanksgiving, where all we did was buy food and go to my grandma’s house for the holiday. After we ate, we left because everyone was tired. This pandemic has affected my family so much, and has left many of us stressed and drained.

For me, it’s having to do schoolwork online with the pressure to pass that has affected my holidays. On the other hand, my parents are worried about money and having to work during the pandemic.

Gov. Jay Inslee put the restrictions to prevent more cases, such as limiting group sizes for gatherings or in-store shopping. Yet many people, including my family, have gone Black Friday shopping, by either using curbside pickups or shopping online. 

I thought Black Friday wasn’t going to be a big thing like the years before. However, while it was, it mostly took place online with events like Cyber Monday. But to me, shopping online isn’t the same as going to the store and picking the item out yourself, wrapping it and giving it to someone. Instead, if you shop online, you can just ship the gift to the person.

Many things have changed since the pandemic, but we can change too. We might not be able to shop like we could previously, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do for the holidays. Doing little things at home, such as baking and giving them to our families can return some of that festive spirit that seems to be missing.

One other thing people can do to make this year a little better is visit the Pierce County Light Shows, with the Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Lake Park, located on 14905 Bresemann Blvd. South, Spanaway, taking place daily from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. all the way until Jan. 3.

This can make someone’s day, even if that something is as little as baking cookies, watching a movie, or just driving around seeing Christmas decorations. So let’s not be as gloomy as the Grinch and get up. Watch something with your family and do the traditional things you would before. COVID does not have to define how you end your year.

Shelitia Pratt, Pierce College student and friend of George Floyd’s cousin, shares her thoughts and experience regarding racial injustices and the global pandemic.

I was born in Centreville, Illinois, and raised in Lovejoy, Illinois before I moved to St. Louis, Missouri.  I identify as African American, and recently I found out that through my father’s side I am multicultural – black, white, creole and native.  

The town that I grew up in was a settlement of African Americans escaping slavery; it later became the first black town in America to be incorporated and named after Elijah Lovejoy, who was killed by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois in 1837.  

My morals and beliefs were embedded in me through my grandparents who raised me.  They taught me to love myself before I love someone else; be honest with others and myself; be loyal; trust no one; do my best at everything I do, and treat people how I want to be treated. They also taught me that hard work pays off; two wrongs don’t make a right; silence is golden, and every response doesn’t need a reaction.  I learned to abide and respect these things as I grew older and later taught these same things to my children.  

Today these guidelines, along with my life experiences and things I have seen, have supported making me who I am today.  I believe that what makes me unique is that my heart always looks out for the best interest of others, and I tend to often recognize my blessings because I give generously. This quarter, I gave a lot.

Being biracial myself, I have never completely “taken a side”.  However because of the one-drop-rule, I do know that I am African American and will always be looked at in this manner, because of the color of my skin. Black lives and every life has always mattered to me growing up.

These days I have been speechless, confused, depressed, and anxious back using my meds to support my anxiety along with increased blood pressure. My reaction to the injustice black Americans have recently faced is mind-blowing, but it does not surprise me at all. 

These injustices have been this way for hundreds of years and nothing has changed.  I have raised my children here in Puyallup, Washington and we all have faced injustice, discrimination, and racial profiling. 

Not all cops are bad and not all black people are criminals, but to wake up every day and know that because of my color I have to work harder than average and still get turned down opportunities, not because of my educational background, but because of the color of my skin; it breaks my soul and aches my heart, to the point that I continue to educate my children, siblings, and nephews.  

Black communities, and other communities, are in pain due to recent events and how things have continued to play out along with our President.  I am friends with George Floyd’s cousin and I’ve had to be a huge support for him, allowing him to vent to me on his feelings, and the family and him just needing a safe place to come to and get away from things. 

During the protesting, my friend got a call from his son’s friend in Bellevue. His son had been racially profiled and the police had his son and three of his biracial friends handcuffed on the curb. He saw his son on television while talking to me about the protest the night before that he and his family attended.  

I am not sure how the Pierce College community can help support those of us who are grieving the injustices that communities of color face. I personally have been just over it and have given up; I have never done that on my education or anything. I’m afraid every time my kids leave my home, and I call them more often because of it.

If someone has to be harassed or killed for being black, out of my children and family, I would rather it be me. I am aware that I should not feel this way, but it’s been a norm to live a life like this; from my hometown to here and across the world, this is the life of being black in the world.

My experiences during this pandemic and social unrest have been very hard to describe. Right now however, I am most concerned for my family. If things open too quickly in Phase Two, they may get sick. I am also concerned about whether my children and I will pass our online classes during this time. 

I have been attending Pierce College for the last three quarters taking classes to finish up getting my degree in human services, along with taking some CMST courses to better educate myself on some of the cultures that I work within my career field.

When I learned that Pierce College was going online, I was planning to withdraw because I am a hands-on learner and learn best being in a classroom. I freaked out a bit and asked my college student kids who have taken online classes what it would be like.  

I anticipated being frustrated often because I don’t navigate computers as well as I could. This online journey has been a struggle for me, as I anticipated it would be, but 10 times worse given how much of my time was devoted to serving others.

I realize this year has been especially hard on several families. At times, I wasn’t even aware of my own coming and going and just stress ate to the point where I gained over 10 pounds.

My household went from two people to six. My two college students came home from Canada and the other from Eastern Washington. I struggle with health issues myself, and fear for my daughter-in-law who works in an emergency room dealing with COVID-19 patients. I fear for my two-year-old granddaughter,  and for my daughter who has one kidney; all-the-while, I continued to fear every day that I could lose my salon business. It is important that I go to work to support my family and keep the business I built.

I was able to navigate through those challenges with lots of prayers; reaching out to my instructors, my supervisors, and my co-workers; and being honest to my building owners about what was truly going on in my life. If only they could have seen how regularly my eyes filled with tears and how constantly my voice cracked. Things constantly happened in my family.

I will do it all over again until I complete it to my satisfaction, but I will be glad when it’s over and I will continue to fight for injustice and peace.

My COVID Experience

COVID-19 has brought discomfort to the world as we continue to physically distance ourselves from each other. We all feel somewhat trapped and overwhelmed with what is going on; within three month of quarantine the United States isn’t taking the shutdown well. The COVID-19 virus, in my reality, isn’t what I envisioned. However it’s all I can visualize during these times. 

Being the type of individual that craves freedom on repeat every day, adjusting my schedule has been very difficult. Spring Quarter has always been something I loved, and having to sit inside, rather than taking my normal walks from school, makes this quarter less exciting. 

The shutdown defeats the purpose of school. Having school from home feels as though it is taking away some freedom we have. Although online classes already existed, it’s hard to not question and stay motivated without being in school physically. 

When it comes to the scheduled times of classes on campus, not only is that being disrupted by the shutdown, but it also has been extremely inconvenient to my ability to learn. My schedule consists of Math, English, and Art for the most part, and all of these thrive in person. With programs such as Zoom taking over and having to wake up for a lecture that is harder to understand due to the lack of interest I have in learning now.

With classes being online, I’ve noticed a shift in the amount of work we are now given. Normally each quarter, our professors would give a manageable amount of work, most likely due to the fact that we’d meet in person. The first week of school was tough with almost two assignments each class due back to back. My math class continues to have work every single day. It’s a surprise being able to catch a break.

Stress has filled up my life just from these first two weeks of school. However usually I give myself a break every other day to feel less overwhelmed. Consistency right now is hard and distractions are all around. The workload is not fair, but we have no choice but to get it done if we want to succeed.

However we now have a reason to get in contact with our professors for help. Before this, it would have been brushed off.  

We are still able to use this time for self-care, extra time with loved ones, and the things we always wanted to do but always put off. In these times, we are all able to evolve and become better as one. Looking towards the positive aspects of this pandemic is definitely something we all can work on.

As we all wish for face-to-face contact, schools, and civilizations to run back up, and just normal to come back to all of us. We all aren’t sure when the end of this pandemic will come. In the meantime to get back to that lifestyle, it is very important that we all are staying safe. 

So when we do leave our homes, we should keep a minimum of 6 feet of distance from everyone, wash our hands often, cover for protection, and go to the doctor if ever feeling ill. So that we can avoid getting this virus as this is a worldwide setback. In the end, we can all come back stronger, connected, and together as a whole.

Autism Awareness

A Pioneer writer shares his personal experiences with Asperger’s Syndrome.

April is Autism Awareness Month, with World Autism Day falling on the 2nd. Autism is a group of developmental and neurological disorders characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication skills in general, as well as high probabilities of repetitive behavior and thoughts. 

Autism is a spectrum: some people may have severe symptoms which may present as non-verbal and limited function and may require constant care. Others, like myself, can function independently, but still have difficulties with social skills and sensory issues.

According to the CDC, 1 in 59 American children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The mission of Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Day is to help more and more people learn about and understand autism as well as help with the acceptance of those with an ASD.

I have a type of high-functioning Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. I am able to function independently and fairly successfully in the “real world”, but all my life I have experienced difficulties with social skills and sensory issues.

I have a sincere desire to make friends and have personal relationships. However, I have trouble navigating social situations. Sometimes, I will say the wrong thing, or something I don’t necessarily mean. I have trouble making eye contact or speaking up when I’m uncomfortable and have difficulties gauging and connecting with the emotional needs and responses of others.

However, while there are courses of treatment and practices that can help me control and increasingly limit the symptoms and the negative effects of Autism, there is currently no cure. Autism has affected me for most of my life and will most likely continue to do so.

My journey started around the age of three. I had started performing repetitive motions (aka ‘Stimming’), like hand-flapping, jumping around, and even talking to myself. I still Stim to an extent nowadays, but I’m able to control it at school and in public. But when I come home, I have to find ways to release built-up energy and sensory overload.

In early elementary school, along with social skills, I had difficulty writing my thoughts down on paper, which created difficulties for me in school. I had a 504 plan that allowed me accommodations and services at school. I would sometimes be taken out of class to go to workshops that helped me learn how to write and type. I also went to speech therapy, and had six years of occupational and physical therapy after school. These were resources that helped me overcome the challenges my Asperger’s was presenting me in school.

I was taken off my 504 plan during middle school, and became more independent in my studies through high school, especially after enrolling in Running Start here at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom back in 2018. I also received my driver’s license when I was sixteen.

I’m excited for the next stage of my life – going off to a four-year university. However, one of my main concerns is being around people who may not have had any understanding of autism, and how I may be perceived by others.

I have struggled to make friends and maintain friendships because I have a hard time connecting. I want to do better when I attend a four-year, and beyond that, along with my family wishing the same thing.

I’m thankful that I’ve never really been bullied or harassed, but I realize there are many people who don’t understand me, and I get that. I struggle with understanding other people, too.

So, while Autism Awareness Month helps people understand those like me with Autism, I am working on my own skills and struggles with socializing and connecting to the world. I joined the Pioneer last fall, and the challenge of the job is helping me with interactions, and even with eye contact when I am interviewing people.

As I learn to navigate in the “real world,” I’m thankful for the people who have helped me. I hope I can meet more great people as I go along in my life.

My autism doesn’t define me, but it’s part of who I am. I hope this article helps people understand Autism better. As well as reading this article, may you consider taking the time to try and connect with an autistic person such as myself, setting aside your differences and finding connections.

For more information, go to autismawarenessmonth.org, autism-society.org, or follow #celebratedifferences on social media.

Modern-Day Love Story

Ciara Williams / Staff Illustration

Online dating and the modern day view on dating and romance

I met my husband on Tinder.

It excited me that an app allowed me to be picky without judgement. I practically lived on Tinder when I was 18-years-old, and fresh out of high school, especially since I’d never been in a relationship before. When I came across my soon-to-be husband, I almost didn’t even give him the time of day. But something compelled me to give him a shot.

After going on a few dates with him, I soon found out that my husband had been lying to his friends about us. Rather than telling his friends and family that we met on Tinder, he instead told people we met at a mall.

The way he describes our fake meeting makes it almost sound like a cheesy Rom-Com. “I saw her sitting by herself in the mall when I decided to strike a conversation with her,” he said. “Soon after, we hit it off.”

At the time, I found this reveal to be funny. I never found it a big deal telling people, “Yeah, we met on Tinder.” I could see why he felt the need to lie about it however. Very rarely do I hear success stories involving Tinder, or any dating platforms for that matter which do a disservice to the apps themselves.

For awhile, stigmas circled around online dating, which painted these apps in a bad light. Pewresearch.org once conducted a survey, where 23 percent of Americans said that people who use online dating sites are desperate. From my own experiences, I can say that without online dating I’m not sure I would have been able to find a relationship. It’s easy to come to this conclusion however, with just how accessible dating apps can be.

Alongside, SwipeLife wrote about how some people believe that relationships that start from apps don’t last long. Part of this stims from the belief that people can’t make an authentic relationship with one another without that first initial connection that’s made in person. Online relationships, whether friendly, or romantic, are still fairly new, and thus still create doubt amongst those new to the idea.

Part of the reason I believe these stigmas exist is because of the aura of mystery that still lingers around online dating and strangers online. Shows like MTV’s Catfish have proven that you should never 100 percent trust who you meet online, no matter how much you may hope that they’re indeed that person you’re talking to.

Stigmas like this keep some people from admitting they’ve met someone they like on these apps. Nonetheless, in today’s age of technology and speed dating, I’ve found that you’re less likely to meet someone in the classic Rom-Com way than by just connecting with someone via an app.

According to eHarmony’s 10 Online Dating Statistics, around 40 percent of Americans currently use online dating, with 52 percent of these users being male. That’s almost half of America participating in this trend of online dating.

Online dating became a reality in 1995, after Gary Kremen created a site known as Match.com. At the time, sites like this were for a more niche audience, the idea of finding a potential spouse via the internet being widely judged by the public.

Online dating has changed the way people go about dating. Before the 2010s, it wasn’t uncommon for someone to say they met their significant other through friends or while they were out. That was the norm; and while many people still do this, that norm is slowly beginning to change.

As a woman, I hated being approached by strangers at the bar, even despite some being attractive. I could hold a conversation, but I could never shake away the idea that this person could potentially have bad intentions for the night. After all, how should I know if this guy I’m talking to isn’t the next Ted Budney?

Online dating has allowed me to chat with the people I’m interested in digitally, before meeting in person. That way, if I don’t like them I could just block them and move on. Online dating had also made it easy for me to pick a location to meet, as opposed to being caught off guard in person. But most importantly, it provided me the option to safely say no if I wanted to.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, if you’re still thinking twice about whether or not you should download a dating  app and meet someone, I’d say go for it. As long as it’s safe and you trust who you’re meeting. So what else do you have to lose?

Hallway Hassel Question:

What are your dating preferences and deal-breakers?

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photographer

“They need to have a good attitude and be positive when we are out together.”

— Rodrigo Torres —

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photographer

“If they talk too much. You are having a conversation and you are not able to give your side because they are constantly talking.”

— Christine Krysiak —

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photographer

“Motivation to succeed, just don’t be lazy. It’s a no-go.”

— Ben Murrell —

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photographer

“They need to have table manners and not [be] indecisive.”

— Matthew Soeum —

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photographer

“You can’t be clingy. I like my independence, so if we’re in a relationship obviously I will give up some of that for you; but you can’t hang onto me all the time. Be reliable, not clingy.”

— Charles Johnson —

Jesus Contreras / Staff Photographer

“If they’re on their phone too much on a date. That’s a bad one.”

— Richard Soeum —

Dating Apps for the Season of Love

Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke / Courtesy Photo / Pixabay

Find Love in the World with Swiping

Dating is a very special thing to many people. However, finding a relationship is the tricky part. In the past, it was common to attend social events, and perhaps find someone who caught your eye. In recent years however, this has become less common with the introduction to online dating. This new age of romance can be intriguing, but with so many sites and apps, it can be hard to choose which one is for you. To help with this, here are four potential apps you can download: Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and Hinge.

Tinder

Tinder is the most popular dating app among people. It invented the swipe gesture, and is patented, with the current owners of Tinder, Match Group LLC. Other dating apps have used this invention in their own apps, making Tinder a pioneer in the dating world. 

Since Tinder is the first of its style of dating apps, most of Tinder’s features are very basic. You have the option to include 10 pictures of yourself, along with a bio and the choice to display your age and distance. It’s a perfect set up for users who don’t want anything over the top. 

Swiping right means you like someone, swiping left means you don’t, and swiping up means you’ve left a Super Like, signalling that you really like them. Tinder gives you one free Super Like a day, but you have unlimited likes. 

Although Tinder has plenty of great free features, you can pay for more. One of the most promoted features is Tinder Gold, which allows you to see who likes you before you swipe. It gives you five super likes a day, one boost a month which increases the chances of you matching with someone, passport to “travel” around the world and meet people in different countries, and no ads.

Bumble

Bumble is similar to Tinder in the swipe gesture feature and format. It was founded by Whitney Wolfe, who also founded Tinder, but parted with them after filling a sexual harassment lawsuit against Tinder and its parent company at the time, IAC. Using the rough amount of $1,000,000 she won, she launched Bumble, and it has become one of the most successful dating apps in the world. 

Although Bumble is a dating app, it also has three modes: Bumble Date, Bumble BFF, and Bumble Bizz. Bumble Date and Bumble BFF are exactly how they sound - Date is for finding a partner, and BFF is for finding friends. Bumble Bizz is for professional networking. Each mode has its own profile, so there isn’t a need to worry about your personal life conflicting with your professional one. 

Bumble’s most popular feature is that women initiate the conversation. Once a match has been made, women have 24 hours to send a message, and then the guy has 24 hours to send a reply. If neither party messages within their time, they are no longer a match. In the case of same-sex couples, either one can message first. Once both parties have messaged each other within their time limit, they can text, call and video chat whenever they want.  

Similar to Tinder, Bumble has its own in-app purchases as well. However, unlike Tinder, it doesn’t offer as many new features. With Bumble Boost, you can see everyone who has right-swiped you. You can also extend your matches by 24 hours and rematch expired connections. 

OkCupid

OkCupid, like the previous apps, uses the swipe right gestures, except with its own unique features built in. For starters, when creating your profile, it has you take a quiz about your viewpoints on certain topics, from your taste in certain styles to your political views. Your answers to the quiz are displayed on your profile, and come into play when you begin matching. Since everyone’s answers are on their profile, it allows users to see what they have in common and what they don’t have in common with a potential match, allowing more insight into a person rather than what they show in their pictures and in their bio. 

Once you swipe right, you now have the option to send an intro, which is just a small greeting or first message. If you do send an intro, it notifies the user that they have been sent an intro and can also look at your profile and decide if they want to swipe right as well. 

OkCupid has three options you can pay for: A-List, Premium A-List, and Incognito mode. A-List is the most paid option according to OkCupid, with exclusive features including no ads, being able to see who has liked you, unlimited likes, and being able to see who has read your sent messages within conversation before they reply. Premium includes the A-List features, plus one automatic boost per day during prime time, to see and be seen by more attractive matches. Incognito mode is a bit different, with the main goal being to keep you hidden from the public eye. You can turn it off and on, and will also have no ads. Incognito is separate from A-List however, so if you want both you will need to get both.

Hinge

Hinge likes to show off how they are going to eventually be deleted, whether it be for its success or for its simplicity some may not like. Compared to the other dating apps, Hinge has one of the most simplistic designs and features available. 

As most dating apps, Hinge shows you people, allows you to like or dislike, and have a conversation. One major difference is that rather than show you users one at a time and let you swipe right or left, it gives you a list of people to choose from, and lets you choose a question similar to an icebreaker, to help get the conversation going. Hinge also uses your Facebook to connect you to friends of your friends. Of course, you don’t have to connect your Facebook to your account at all. 

Hinge has the basic filters for gender, location, age, distance, ethnicity, and religion. With the Preferred Hinge membership, you not only have those features, but also filters for height, whether someone has children or wants them, politics, drinking, smoking, marijuana, and drug use. You also get an unlimited number of likes to use, with the option to see everyone who likes you. 

These are just a few of the most popular dating apps available to the public.

What Does it Mean to be Equal?

Photo Illustration by Ciara Williams

After Affirmative Action was rejected in Washington’s November elections, the state is left to face the future of diversity amongst college campuses

Affirmative Action was once an active initiative in Washington State. Created for the usage of colleges to improve opportunities for women and minorities; Affirmative Action was made with the intent of leveling the playing field for everyone in America. Washington State then banned this initiative in 1998 during a state vote.

Fast forward to today and Affirmative Action was reinstated in April of 2019 by our state legislatures. This caused an uproar within our community, as many found this to be an attack on everything this country stood for.

A petition was led by the Washington Asians for Equality, as an attempt to keep Affirmative Action banned in Washington State. “It would abolish the standard of equality for all, regardless of race, as required by I-200, and replace it with a system that uses different rules for people of different races,” states the petition.

Finally, the state settled with letting this decision be made by the people, as they included it in last November’s votes. Results came in, and Affirmative Action was rejected by Washington State citizens by a vote of 50.54% to 49.46%, reinstating the ban.

One of America’s most important values included making this country fair and equal for all who choose to live here. If freedom was America’s first goal in mind, then equality is arguably the second goal. But what does it mean to be equal?

Equality is the act of treating everyone equal to one another, regardless of upbringing, race, or systemic advantages. To me, this means also considering the disadvantages an individual in America may realistically face, and making it so despite these hardships, there’s still the possibility of having an equal chance in this country.

Others would argue that true equality would be to not consider these elements in a person, but instead place every individual on the same playing field as one and the same. I would say it is impossible to do this without first considering every individual’s disadvantages in life.

Photo Illustration by Ciara Williams

In an American system originally created to favor white men, this country has spent years trying to create a balance that is fair for every citizen here. However, it is difficult to make this balance when it still remains an issue to just be considered by those who run the system.

As a 22-year-old black woman, I understand the extra hindrances I must face in this country if I wish to get an education. I also understand the challenges I will face outside of college.

Affirmative Action was viewed as a way for minorities to be seen and considered in an educational environment, where diversity has been lacking for decades. Pierce College has been one of the most diverse colleges I’ve ever been to; a campus that has helped me best experience what it’s like to feel equal to the student next to me, regardless of who we are.

However, on my tour at Seattle’s University of Washington, I found that the only other black person I saw on campus that day was one other student on tour with me. Suddenly, I was made aware of my own race again, and how much more colleges could be doing for minorities with admissions alone.

Despite this, I’m not as confident believing Affirmative Action would actually solve any of these issues I face. I’m aware that the educational system is in need of improvements when it comes to admissions. But I have instead found that Affirmative Action may just be a double ended sword, rather than the shield it hoped to be.

Affirmative Action makes it so colleges have to take race into consideration. At first I saw no issue with this, until I started to think about it. This action would now make it where my race is the most defining part of my identity, and the real reason as to whether or not I’m accepted into a college. I can see immediately the problems that could come from this.

This Action actively puts races against one another, versus it currently just being an equal playing field. I would personally find it insulting if a college only accepted me because I am black, rather than because of my qualities. And I would hate to hear that someone else was denied just because of the race they were born with.

Diversity on college campuses is still an issue however. Minority groups still often make up only a third of the population of most college campuses. Affirmative Action may be counterproductive, but it’s intents were made out of wanting to increase educational opportunities for those who may otherwise not have them. The idea of Affirmative Action shouldn’t be scrapped, but instead improved upon in the near future.

A solution to this problem may not be clear yet, but we are on the right track.

Keeping “I Have a Dream” Alive

Photo Credit / USA.gov

One of Pierce College’s core themes is centered around equity, diversity and inclusion. All students are given the opportunity to be apart of a community of people who are here to grow their knowledge and create relationships.

As a mixed person, I have experienced not feeling like I fit into any group. I am not “light enough” to relate to a white person and I am not “dark enough” to relate to a person of color. Even though I have felt unsure where I fit in, Pierce made me feel a sense of belonging. Pierce would not be able to provide this security without the constant work of Civil Rights leaders.

During the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr. was a well-known activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. 

The fight for equal rights for black citizens was a difficult road. Black citizens had very few rights to community services, recreational activities and quality education. His work and other black leaders alike paved the way for the society we live in now.

Today, black citizens face some of the same difficulties on a slightly smaller scale. 22.72% of black citizens in Washington state live in poverty, while only 9.83% of white citizens live below the average means. Communities are separated by income and success, so in turn most white citizens live in better neighborhoods. No one’s housing, job opportunity or education should be affected by race.  This is evident in more luxurious parts of Tacoma-Lakewood area.

Although segregation isn’t as severe as it used to be, there is still a divide between a person of color and a white citizen. This is based on personal prejudices and discrimination. Because race is a socially constructed system created by the individuals living in it, people are judged based on what they look like and even how they talk.

This is what King stood for; equality among all people, according to his “I Have A Dream” speech. He said he wanted his four children to be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin.

Progress has been made, but there is more work to be done. Every person has the right to respect, freedom and equal opportunity. As a community, we must work together to keep this city and campus a welcoming place for everyone.

We must do away with biased views of a race and realize we all have something in common.

We are human. 

How to stay motivated in keeping and achieving your New Year’s Resolutions

How+to+stay+motivated+in+keeping+and+achieving+your+New+Year%27s+Resolutions

Set yourself up for success in 2020

It’s the beginning of a new year, which for many people can feel like a fresh start. This is a time when people start setting goals in their life in order to start the year off right. Making New Year’s resolutions has been a tradition people take part in all around the world for years.

However, although telling yourself that you will exercise everyday, or cut out sugary drinks may sound simple, it is often hard for people to stay true to their goals for very long. According to Business Insider, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. 

This especially rings true in college students. Many students living a busy lifestyle have a hard time finding time or motivation to stay true to their goals outside of school, work, friends, and family. With keeping a few strategies and tips in mind, anyone can stay motivated to keep their New Year’s resolution all year long.

First, come up with a reasonable goal. If you spend 3 hours a day watching television, and tell yourself you will only watch 20 minutes of television a day, that goal will most likely not be met for very long. Set reachable expectations in the beginning, and slowly work up to what you hope to achieve. 

Setting a realistic goal comes hand in hand with making that goal as specific as possible. If you say something vague such as, “I want to eat healthier,” your ideas of what constitutes as healthy may change over time. Instead, come up with a plan such as a specific food you will cut out, or a healthy meal you will eat a few days a week.

After you make your goal, you are now ready to start achieving it. Think about what ways you stay motivated in other parts of your life, such as in school or hobbies. You could set an alarm to remind you to exercise in short increments throughout the day, or get a friend to remind you. 

Finally, reward yourself for accomplishing your goals. It’s ok to take time for yourself to celebrate your successes. If you finally get an A in a difficult class, go out with a friend, or buy yourself something new to praise your hard work.

By following these steps, you will find yourself succeeding in keeping your New Year’s resolutions more than you ever have in the past. Things that once seemed impossible to reach, will now become a regular habit in your life. Set 2020 up for a great year from the very beginning.

Leave a Comment