Pierce Pioneer

Pierce College virtual choir presents “The Lads Among Heather”

Pierce College virtual choir presents “The Lads Among Heather” Directed by Dr. Kenneth Owen, and put together by videographer Kyla Raygor.

Highs and lows of quarantined mental health

Students have had their share of mental ups and downs during quarantine and though some saw the lockdown optimistically others weren’t so sure how to feel.

Having an extrovert or introvert personality had an impact on the mental stability of students as they managed schedules, family, friends, work and solitude. 

“It’s a rollercoaster, where it kind of depends on what I am thinking about,” said Zakariah Swanson ASPCP president of Puyallup student life. “If I can look at the silver lining or not.” 

College life is never really stress free even for the “best” student. There are students that are faced with more than just the usual issues and have added strain due to already having underlying mental health concerns.

“Every day felt like bricks on my chest, the amount of stress I felt,” said Vanessa Garcia, student engagement coordinator. 

Garcia was candid and revealed she has Asperger’s Syndrome and told of the difficulty she was faced with during the pandemic. She also said her favorite part about the quarantine was getting to wear sweatpants for events.

Some students looked at what was lost but also looked at what could be gained. Still the longer it went on the more tiring and the less motivated students were to put up with the status quo.

“The pandemic amplified my mental health,” said Nathan Haueter, student organizations coordinator. “When I was doing really good it made it even better and when I was doing bad it made it worse.”

Finding a solution to manage the highs and lows of mental health seems to rely on relationships and being around people for the motivation to do good. Not having the usual net of people around has made the pandemic more difficult for some students while others were able to stay motivated.

“Celebrate small victories,” said Madison Rannow, vice president of student organizations, commenting on what she would likely tell her past self before the pandemic.

Looking back, many students will have learned many different lessons through diverse struggles, each as hard in its own way as the other. The world turned small for students, both foreign and domestic and all the possibilities that once were within reach were somehow taken and placed a little further out of reach.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion Senator Jessica Xu, finds having an adaptive mentality to be beneficial. Being an international student who has not been able to go home in over a year has built frustration, especially not being able to have family around as a support system.

For some students, the pandemic felt easy at first but harder as it went on. Time out of school kept expanding and became more strenuous. Along the way most students learned to not be hard on themselves and found a way to thrive in the midst of this moment in history.  

“I got used to it and got into a system where my mental health is not based on the circumstances, but on what I decide it to be,” said Karen Nunex-Michel, vice president of activities board.

 


Things to Do This Summer

Where are all the student resources?

Students feel uninformed of the available resources Pierce College has to offer due to lack of advertising

While Pierce has gone through many lengths to make the abrupt transition to online learning as easy as possible for both its staff and students, one issue remains prevalent. As Pierce discusses returning to in-person teaching the issue of advertising available resources remains.

Pierce College students are saying they’re not fully aware of the college’s resources available to them virtually. This is largely because Pierce hasn’t advertised these resources, they say, leaving it up to students to search websites to find what they need. There are useful tabs of info and help that students are missing, most likely because they are unaware it even exists.

Student Heather Schlaht used online resources for her English classes but not for other classes. Schlaht wouldn’t use resources from the library unless it was necessary, as she would prefer to act independently as a student.
“Depending on a specific assignment, [professors] usually tell us, ‘Hey go to this thing on the Pierce website,’” Schlaht said.“[But] I think the biggest problem Pierce has is the multiple layers of websites. When you go to a resource, it’s kind of cluttered I would say.”
Unless the school or a professor specifically guides them to a needed resource, there isn’t much reason to dig further to see what other resources are available. On top of this, some of the pages on Pierce’s site require you to visit multiple links just to get to a specific section. Because of this, it is assumed that many students act independently in their classes when searching for resources.

“I remember there was one thing like the Ctclink [and] trying to get to it; they have this thing where it’s like [you go to] the Pierce website and then it goes to some other website, then you have to click a link to get to your Ctclink,” Schlaht said.

Schlaht often looks on her own to find needed resources online, especially when the college has multiple platforms for information to search through. Students such as Cannon Combs, however, said he didn’t use the suggested resources at all.
“I heard about the Writing Center in English,” Combs said. “I heard about the Tutoring Center from a friend and all the other resources I learned about in English, but I didn’t end up using them,” Combs said.
Combs did in fact sign up for tutoring but didn’t want to wait for the scheduled time, and found the answer he was looking for himself instead. He ended up asking a friend to help out and canceled the session.
Students like Combs question whether they should use Pierce’s available resources such as the Tutoring Center, or use a more direct approach and search for their answers right away, rather than wait for a session.
Pierce provides many resources that can help with school, and counseling is also available to help students with what’s going on around them personally. Some resources students should know about include the library’s website, Writing Center and Tutoring Center. All these resources help with homework or anything students are having trouble with.
The Tutoring Center is a place where students can receive help with homework and understanding their course work. Kannika Armstrong, a Pierce tutor, used to be a college student last year, but now sees both the students’ point of view and the tutor’s point of view.

Tutors like Armstrong are helping students get access to resources like the Tutoring Center by encouraging them to come to a session. Even if students are scared to ask questions she guides them through it.

”Tutor is not a teacher,” Armstrong said. “We don’t teach you, we just come to work together. I can’t grade you, so it’s ok to make a mistake and to say “I don’t know”. [Tutors] support you.”

Armstrong encourages students to seek help in any way and continues to help make that resource as accessible as possible. “I asked the professor to set up the Homework Help form in the module so if they have a question or ask [one] the tutor would go to them and help. But I will guide them, not give them the answer,” Armstrong said.

”You can ask in the Homework Help form, but you have to wait for the answer. But, if you come to the session you get help right away.”

Students who would prefer to receive help through messaging, rather than verbally have that option as well. “I have a student that just messages me all quarter,” Armstrong said. “It’s ok [for them] not to come to the session because [they] still message and contact me and get help through messages.”

Keith Kirkwood, the program manager for the Writing Center, further explains how the Writing Center is a resource available to assist students as well as the Tutoring Center. The Writing Center has an online course on Canvas where students can enroll to get help.
“It gives more information about who we are and of videos explaining how we do things, and resources we create in the house for students about particular assignments,” Kirkwood said.
The resources you need are all on Canvas under the Student Support tab. There students can find the Tutoring Center, the Writing Center and even the library. These can be accessed by clicking on the required tab needed to take you to the resources information.

With the resources in the student support center, students can find amazing people to contact and get help from. Tutors like Armstrong, for example, are there to encourage you and guide you through the answer, rather than having to rely on friends. Many more are ready to help students as well.

Don’t be scared to ask for help; these resources are here to aid students, not to judge or grade them. The resources may not be advertised in the most resourceful way to find them, but they are there and with many resources currently that could greatly aid students in need.


Links to resources from Pierce:

 

Online Library “Ask” Desk: Link

Writing Center’s general page: Link

Tutoring Center page: Link

CtcLink sign-in page: Link

Bookstore homepage: Link

Veteran Services homepage: Link

International Education homepage: Link

Financial Aid homepage: Link

Tuition Installment Plan: Link *(If you need to break up your quarterly charges for classes into increments)

Other Financial Aid Resources: Link

Scholarships homepage: Link

Work Study homepage: Link

School Calendar: Link

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.

April Fool’s by Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson / Staff Illustration

The Scoop #2 – New Year, New Us

The+Scoop+%232+-+New+Year%2C+New+Us

Finn and Maxwell start out the year right in this episode by talking about school events for the week of January 21 and going over some resources that Pierce College has available for students.

Hosted by: Maxwell Smith and Khuong “Finn” Ho

Edited by: Maxwell Smith

College Woes – Homework by Carl Vincent Carallas

Carl Vincent Carallas / Staff Illustration

Feeding the hungry one student at a time

Feeding+the+hungry+one+student+at+a+time

Student Life’s food pantry serves more than 40 people a day

A student is shown donating to the food pantry.
Carl Carallas / Staff Photo
Students who come to school later in the day could donate their food and hygiene supplies to the after-hours (Mon–Tue: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wed–Thur: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fri: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) bank for Student Life to pick up in the morning the next day.

Meal affordability can be a struggle for anyone, especially for those who are either low-income or homeless. Thankfully there is a resource here on campus that can help a little with feeding one’s belly.

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom’s campus food pantry has been on site now for two years now, according to Student Life Issues and Awareness Coordinator Aidan Helt and Student Government Vice President Caleb Bromley. Both have been working on making the food drive happen in order to make sure food is available in the pantry. The food drive started on Nov. 1 and ends next Friday.

“Being a low-income student myself, I know how it is to wonder if I can afford food myself and for my family,” said Helt, a full-time student and mother to her five kids. “I don’t know the percentage of homeless students on campus, but I have noticed on the weekends a large number of students sleeping on campus, so we know the pantry is being used on the weekends as well.”

The Student Life office has a storage area where food donations are kept and sorted through as they come in to make sure food that is expired isn’t put out. There is not normally a lot of excess food as it goes out pretty quickly.

The college faculty and staff helped start the pantry, which serves more than 40 people a day, and have been huge contributors and supporters of it, Bromley said.

Student Life staff poses with some food donations.
Carl Carallas / Staff Photo
Caleb Bromley (left) and Aidan Helt (right) are the individuals in charge of the Food Pantry Drive in order to gain more variety of for students.

“The response has been huge,” said Bromley, who said he hopes the food drive could be held at least once each quarter. “There has been overwhelming support from the faculty and staff; it’s been great.”

Though the drive ends Friday, donations for the food pantry could be dropped off at the Student Life office in Cascade room 418 across from the cafeteria.

Some of the items that are always needed are bowls, plastic ware, canned meals and soups. All items must be dry and non-perishable. Donations of hygiene items are always welcomed and needed, especially feminine hygiene products.

A microwave is now available in the hallway across from the Performance and Fireside lounges so those who are on campus for evening classes could warm up their food even after the cafeteria closes at 3 p.m. every day.

If you have any questions, please feel free to visit the Student Life office, which is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Leave a Comment