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California State University, Dominguez Hills
May 25, 2021 • VOL. 27, NO. 8
The Secret Life of (Bulletin’s) Pets Throughout this past year, we have spent more time in our homes than we could have imagined. During our in-house “safety hibernation” we may have felt levels of loneliness that seemed unbearable. But for some of us, we were never really alone. Whether it was a furry friend or swimming in a tank, animals can help alleviate stress. As we navigate towards a post-Covid lifestyle, the Bulletin wanted to showcase some unsung heroes that were with us during the pandemic. From pets with gorgeous gills or those who are fantastically four-legged, these pals that helped us stay sane during the trying times deserve their accolades for supporting us through our virtual academic year. By Jeremy Gonzalez | Co-sports Editor
By Taylor Helmes | Editor-in-Chief
The first family dog we had passed away when I was just 3 years old, so I was never familiar with him. But when my sister and I agreed to split the responsibility of a dog, I became ecstatic since this would officially be my first furry companion. We got our English bulldog, Bruce in 2014 when he was just two months old and I instantly became best friends with him. I take him to the dog beach and out to lunch occasionally where we both enjoy delicious meals. A majority of Bruce’s responsibilities were handed to me once my sister gave birth to my nephew and her focus was now on him, which I had no issue with. Now him and I are inseparable, spending every moment together when we can, especially during the stay-at-home order of the pandemic. When I step out and come back, he greets me with excitement and joy. He’s been there for every good and bad moment I’ve had in the last seven years and I wouldn’t trade my best friend for any other pet on this planet.
At night when it’s dark and late night commercials drone on, instead of going on my phone or channel flicking I look over at the fish tank my boyfriend spontaneously brought home one day. Watching the fish interact and
chase each other is entertaining, and simple. Since they’re homecoming, we have lost a few fish, but that’s the circle of life right? Now, we have six fish between two tanks, the GloShark, three Tetra Glofish, a Lyretail Golden Panda Molly, and a tri-colored spotted guppy. They continue to put
up a fight and swim around the artificial neon green kelp and seagrass and manufactured driftwood arch. They don’t know what COVID-19 is or that it’s altered our lives immensely, but they survived the trip from the pet store to a new tank. They’re survivors, regardless the environment or circumstances.
By Lafie Bradford | Staff Reporter We call this fish “Sub-Zero,” a.k.a “SB.” We’ve had him for about two years now and it has been nothing but amazing times that extemporaneously blows your mind beyond belief. I’m not a pet person, let alone had a connection with a fish before. “SB” is a loner, but so am I. We have each other now, he listens to me, and I watch and care for him. He gives me comfort to embrace my feelings about “SB.” Our situation
is solid. It’s unbelievable that I feel this way about a fish and he chose me. Now it’s me and SB. Sub-Zero is special to me, he is my best friend forever.
By Brenda Fernanda Verano |
Ophelia, my cat was found in an alley, alone after days of being born. This cat that fit in the palm of my hand was so
in the palm of my hand was so small and skinny, I thought she was not going to make it through that first night. That was probably one of the few times I have genuinely prayed, I was praying for her
By Iracema Navarro | Senior Editor When I lost my dog Sparkle at nine, I promised never to have another pet. The pain of losing my companion was unbearable and I didn’t want to feel that again. So high was my barrier that it prevented my little sister from having a pet. Not until she was in eighth grade four years ago, she had bad grades and was promised a pet if she passed and graduated. The day came to see her report card and I didn’t know how to feel, she passed the eligibility to graduate. But she got a kitten, an animal we have never cared for when seeing in the streets and all our perceptions were negative. I resisted the kitten, I wanted to despise her but hearing her cry for food, the restroom, or attention shoved those feelings aside. Now at the age of four, Nina Navarro is family. She is well-fed, left alone when sleeping, has one-third of the room for herself, and has health insurance. My pet has health insurance, but my 30-year-old sister does not. She has an intuitive feeling when I feel alone or when I need a break. Throughout quarantine, she has been giving me breaks that I need to keep sane during this environment and for that, I will always be in debt to her. life. In the beginning of the pandemic, she would be my reason to get out of bed. The pandemic didn’t just bring in mask and social distancing but it also brought a lot of isolation. As an only child of divorced parents, I thought I had mastered being alone, because I enjoy my own company but I also love people dearly, and this was different. Going from seeing friends [See OPHELIA , page 4]
TUESDAY May 25 2021
Letters From The Editors By Taylor Helmes | Editor-in-Chief Procrastination has been a common characteristic throughout my college career; this letter was no different. But now that I’ve waited until the last minute to write this, I feel as though I have more knowledge and reason to write. My time at the Bulletin has been the highlight of my college career. I’ve met incredible people that have shown me points of view that I wouldn’t know otherwise. That is the beauty of CSUDH. The students who make this campus a community are first-generation students, Dreamers, believers, all ages and who represent a true melting pot of culture. These are the same students who have been a support system for each other, for me, during the past year. Unfortunately, I spent more time learning and studying online than on campus since transferring in fall 2019.
By Darlene Maes | Managing Editor But fortunately, we get to return to campus one last time for graduation. I even received confirmation that Teddy will be there, albeit socially distanced and masked up. Commencement will be bittersweet, but mostly sweet. That sentiment sort of sums up my time at CSUDH. I’ll miss the walks across campus and running into Teddy high-fiving students and dancing. I’ll miss grabbing a coffee and studying in the library by myself. I’ll miss grabbing a hard cider at the DH Sports Lounge and happen to be there when a live student Jazz band played. But most of all, I’ll miss the Bulletin Newsroom. The corner of the third floor of the Library was a safe space for journalism students to gather, talk, or write. Instead, our bedrooms or garages turned into our own little cubicles. We virtually collaborated and continued to produce award winning stories. The students and team behind the Bulletin are unmatched. The time, dedication, thought, and creativity that is brought to issue is a testament to what these students are capable of. To be a part of this team, let alone lead it, has been the most rewarding opportunity of my seven years in college.
I never thought this moment would arrive. That my seven year journey to chase an undergrad degree would come to an end. The time it took to reach this moment was not ideal. For as long as I can remember, when I decided to pursue a higher education I always compared my timeline to others. I would feel discouraged that my finish line kept creeping farther and farther away while others received their degrees. As students, we all have had to overcome our own set of obstacles, big or small. Still, I never would’ve imagined that a pandemic would have made its mark on our education here at CSUDH, but it did and yet here we are. We made it through this unprecedented time and for me, I couldn’t have done it without the Bulletin newspaper and the sup-
portive professors here at CSUDH. My time here has helped prepare and motivate me to go for anything, no matter the uncertainty. More importantly, the support and hands on production experience I’ve gotten from the Bulletin staff has made an impact in my life that will last forever. I look back at the times when I thought I wouldn’t live to experience a moment like this. A moment full of hope for the future and the opportunities to come. As a first-generation student, I share this moment with those who truly felt like giving up. Who second guess their ability to achieve or pursue something that seems bigger than themselves. I share this accomplishment with those who live their life believing they could never achieve something like this, this moment is for us.
Running With the Bull
By Robert Rios | Senior Editor
More than a year ago, I wrote a story called “These Hills Will Be Roamed Again.” In that piece, I predicted what the campus would be like after what I was sure would be only a short, temporary campus closure. I imagined our mascot, a toro, with its head raised high, unscathed and ready for all challenges. But I was wrong. It’s now nearly 15 months later. The campus remains mostly closed. And that toro is feeling beaten up, its horns chipped and wondering if it will ever have the courage to charge again. No one knew in those early days what was going to happen. When the stay-at-home orders kicked in I thought it would all be OK. Everything would go back to normal in no time, and I would be back on my daily grind to graduating in December 2020. Unfortunately, like so many, I would spend that final semester in online classes and with no social life. And rather
than feeling excited that I was only a few months from getting that degree, I found myself not wanting to do any school work . Even the one thing that kept me connected to the campus, working for the Bulletin and covering the Academic Senate, felt more like a chore. Those same feelings are hard to detach from now that I’m so close to commencement. I can’t help but feel that when I finally see that diploma I spent so much time, and overcame so much trying to attain, that it will have an asterisk on it, signifying that it was achieved under less than real circumstances. But what if that asterisk
shows not what we didn’t do because of the pandemic, but what we did in spite of it? Look at it this way: we finished our college experience without actually “going” to college. That’s kind of insane to think about. No one in the foreseeable future will be able to say they graduated college during a pandemic and did 100% of their work at home. Years from now, we will have our versions of the stories we may have heard from grandparents about walking 20 miles to school in 100-degree weather. But we will have more than stories. We will have the knowledge that we didn’t give up, and that as unmotivated
as we were and as inauthentic as a virtual college experience might have felt, we stuck through it. Sure, some of us may not be sure just how we did it, or even cared that much while doing it, but we did it. And doesn’t that make this class of graduates, which wasn’t heard or seen on campus, but who still got their degrees, the strongest and bravest of any Toro class? We won’t have the photos of us walking and receiving our diplomas, or smiling with our families who were there to support us. But any graduating class gets those. What we will have is an experience that, yes, wsa
tainted, one we never signed up for, one that didn’t feel as full and realized as others. And we lost out. But by our loss, the classes of 2020 and 2021 gave something to this university that no other class can claim: we helped it survive the greatest crisis it has ever faced. In a weird way, the most invisible classes in this university’s history may leave the most indelible mark. Because while each of us will eventually get a piece of paper saying we graduated, we’re also leaving a piece of ourselves behind. We should not be seen as the poor souls that had to stay away from campus but as the ones who kept the fighting spirit of that toro alive for future generations. That Toro I wrote about more than a year ago will eventually roam these hills again. And when it does, every person whose name is called during a commencement exercise this week will be running right alongside it.
STAFF BOX EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Taylor Helmes MANAGING EDITOR Darlene Maes NEWS EDITOR Brenda Fernanda Verano OPINION EDITOR Raven Brown CAMPUS EDITOR Robert Rios COPY EDITOR Iracema Navarro
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Destiny Jackson PHOTO EDITOR Nova Blanco-Rico SPORTS CO-EDITORS Matt Barrero Jeremy Gonzalez LIFESTYLE EDITOR Carina Noyola SENIOR EDITORS Yeymy Garcia Jasmine Nguyen
Destiny Torres ASSISTANT SECTION EDITOR Anthony Vasquez STAFF REPORTERS Skyler Belmonte Lafie Bradford Daniel Diaz Andrea Espinoza Benjamin Gomez Brian Hinchion Chaz Kawamura
Desiree Lee Anthony Garza Gabriela Medina Benito Morales Jesus Perez Cindy Portillo Xitlaly Ruiz
ADVISER Joel Beers LAYOUT ADVISER Joseph Witrago LAYOUT TEAM Jonathan Ghattas Chris Martinez WEB EDITOR Carlos Martinez
The print and digital version of the CSUDH Bulletin is published bi-weekly and is produced by students in Communications 355, News Production workshop. The views and expressions contained on both do not necessarily reflect that of the Communications Department, or the CSUDH administration.
The Bulletin operates within, and is protected by, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Comments, criticism, and story ideas can be emailed to editorial@csudhbulletin. com. We reserve the right to edit any letters for length, grammar and punctuation, and libel.
TUESDAY, May 25, 2021
How I Turned My Weaknesses Into Academic Success By Andrea Espinoza | Staff Reporter I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in my junior year of high school. For years I suffered in silence, in complete frustration with myself. This disorder soured my relationship with school, my dreams of attending and completing a college education began to fade away. I hated school with a passion, but not any longer. Throughout my time in school, I never made the honor roll or received recognition for my academics. I was never good at tests and math to this day is a subject I loathe. It seemed like no matter how many hours I spent studying, I continued to struggle in school. I tried my hardest to pay attention, but it was impossible to stop my mind from wandering as I tried to do even the simplest tasks as a student. I sought additional help through after school tutoring, but it was pointless. No matter how many times my teachers would assist me, I still found it difficult to excel academically. Every bad grade I received was another chip at my confidence as a student. I wasn’t even sure I would graduate high school. I was anxious to even step foot on school grounds which then led me into a deep depression.
Artwork by Andrea Espinoza
Though there are many symptoms of ADHD some include, being easily distracted and having problems staying focused on daily tasks or activities. It wasn’t until I was properly diagnosed using an individualized educational plan (IEP) that I was finally given a clearer picture of why being successful at academics felt like an impossible goal. According to the American Psychiatric Association, as of 2017, an estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD, which can often be first identified in children’s early school years. ADHD symptoms also include difficulty remaining still for a long
period of time and limited attention span. After my diagnosis, I felt really confused and embarrassed that there was something “wrong” with me. I refused to take any of the medication prescribed to me for my disorder because I heard of the adverse side effects. Looking back, I have no regrets about my decision. I was able to explore myself further and learn how to cope with my ADHD symptoms,
mostly. Do I have bad days? Of course. Those are the days I have to learn to put my mental health first and unplug from the world. Whether it be reducing social media interaction, noise interaction, or simply sitting in silence to ease the buzzing in my brain from over stimulation. I had to learn that it’s okay to walk away from an assignment or project that I am working on to give my mind a break. I know that if I push myself, I
would shut down. These were the tools I took with me as I navigated my journey through college. My time at Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC) was another phase that I walked away from with another life lesson, that it’s okay to ask for help. I was almost kicked out of LAHC due to poor grades. I sat down with the dean of students and was offered another chance if I passed all my classes the following semester. I also met with a counselor at the special services office and together we explored every degree, program, and department before I settled on one, journalism. I loved English and I loved to write, whether it was creatively or academically. I thank her for that push. I took the two classes in communications that I needed to transfer to CSUDH where I finally felt happy. In hindsight, I look back at those experiences and know that they have shaped me into the person I am today. I am a soon to be college graduate, the first in my family. I am a completely different person than I was at 16 years old, I am a person that suffers from ADHD (and I’m no longer embarrassed to admit it). I know if I can accomplish anything so can others.
What I Wish I Told My High School Self About Depression By Taylor Helmes | Editor-in-Chief Republished from EdSource It has been a year of living with the constant threat of Covid-19. Like some kind of invisible sand-filled blanket, this virus has added an extra layer of suffocating weight to my already tainted mental health. I have faced the darkest sides of depression, self-harm and anxiety for nearly the last decade of my life, but it hasn’t defined who I am. Rather, it has changed how I react to difficult environments and situations — and my ongoing battle during the pandemic has proven no different. This severe isolation we have all been forced to endure has been one of the biggest challenges of my 25 years on this Earth — mentally, socially, physically and financially. In pre-pandemic times, any one of these forces could have triggered dark thoughts or my unhealthy habit of self-harm: But I never imagined having to deal with all of my struggles all at once. I’m not the only one having a hard year; certainly, I don’t have it the worst. I have a roof
over my head. I have food on the kitchen shelves in my 400-square-foot apartment. And I am able to continue my education at California State University, Dominguez Hills, albeit virtually. However, the biggest foe I face is the voice
inside my head telling me my life is not worth living. The voice has repeated the same ideas like a record player since I was 15, telling me that if I ended it all or at least severely harmed myself then things would somehow get
better. One time, I caved into those demands and grabbed a knife and put it to my wrist. Another time, I contemplated pulling out my dad’s pellet gun and placing it to my head. Thankfully, my mom came home early and stopped me
Photo by Taylor Helmes
Taylor Helmes was first diagnosed as having severe depression a decade ago as a high school student. Through hard work and therapy, she poised to graduate from California State University, Dominguez Hills in May.
from using the knife and my father learned to hide his pellet gun somewhere else. I am doing all I can to suppress that voice. I am on my fifth antidepressant in nine years; I see a psychiatrist virtually twice a month. I practice different techniques that I have learned in my years of therapy, from the four-second breathing exercise to physical activity. But when I open my heavy eyes, I still find myself facing my toughest days while stuck inside my shared one-bedroom apartment. Prior to the pandemic, my rock bottom occurred in high school when I was first treated in a pediatric psychological ward in Sacramento. I feel like what I am going through today is even worse. But now, I am better equipped and prepared to handle whatever is thrown my way. Part of that confidence comes from the fact that I have been treated by countless therapists since my original depression diagnosis in 2011. Plus, in community college, a campus therapist [See DEPRESSION, page 4]
TUESDAY, May 25, 2021
Depression From Page 3
taught me how to manage my panic attacks whenever they strike in the middle of class. It takes hard, emotional work. But I do the work because each step in the right direction matters. All this time spent at home this past year, shielding and protecting myself and those around me from coronavirus, has created an environment that fed my depression. I have become an even more somber version of myself,
By Matt Barrero | Co-sports Editor In my 27 years of life, this is the first time I have felt stress every day for a full year (thanks COVID). From avoiding a deadly disease on top of taking courses remotely for my major, the walls of my house, and more specifically my bedroom, became more confined as days rolled by. Thankfully, in those mo-
By Darlene Maes | Managing Editor Right as the COVID-19 pandemic made its mark at CSUDH so did my best friend. In Spring 2020 the Bulletin’s staff and its readers
but I have reminded myself not to grow too numb or destructive in response to the outside world spiraling out of my control. I cannot end this pandemic. I cannot force my campus to reopen. I cannot go back in time to advise my 15-year-old self. But I can control how I react. I can replace those words in my head with new ones. I cannot wake up happy and hopeful each day. But I can attend class. I can become the first to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in my family, hopefully in May.
I can keep taking those small steps that matter. I have learned that contemplating taking my own life and depriving my loved ones of my existence is not the answer. What’s different now than when I was 15 is that I have the ability and strength to choose life rather than give into that relentless voice inside my head.
ments where I felt like saying “screw it,” I turned to my canine and feline friends for comfort and cuddles. From their goofy grins and relaxed purring, these three animals provided an instant stress relief without them even realizing. Tommy was my first dog, and though he is gone now, he started the pandemic with me and we were the closest we had ever been in the 13 years he
were introduced to my little sidekick, “Baby Teddy.” Over a year later, this illustration has made it’s mark not just as the cute little toro in an award-winning newspaper, but in my heart.
Taylor Helmes is a senior studying journalism at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and an intern with EdSource’s California Student Journalism Corps.
Ophelia From Page 1
every week (sometimes multiple times a week) to not seeing them for months and now seeing them two or three times a month, has been hard, but Ophelia has always been there. She curls up in my legs while I
get through Zoom classes, or while I stay up doing homework. She’s seen me cry when getting dumped, and she’s seen me cry even harder when I can’t find her and think she’s run away. She’s been there as I lay sick, as I kiss her from excitement, as I live and grow. I’m forever grateful for coinciding in this life with her.
was with us. Lucy the cat is 17 and radiates an aura of a grandmother; she’s always there when you need her. And then there’s Stanley, the newest addition to our humble home. This three-month old pup has been a jolt of fresh energy for a family that truly needed it. They will never understand what I’m saying, but to each of them I say thank you.
By Carlos Martinez | Web Editor The phrases “Man’s best friend” or “one of the family” have always felt foreign to me whenever I see someone bond closely to their pet. Growing up, I had to force myself to not get attached as a revolving door of cats, dogs, turtles and rabbits came and went out of life due to financial and housing issues. With the fears of having to say goodbye as soon as saying hello, I did my best to stay emotionally distant to lessen the blow of being seperated from my newly four legged-best friend. It was in the middle of the pandemic, two weeks before the 2020 fall semester, when I was struggling with maintaining mental health after spending months socially distancing myself from family and friends. My sister brought an unexpected visitor from my aunt’s home in Victorville that goes by the name of Honey Kyo Tangerine.
Inexperienced with taking care of cats, or a month old kitten for that matter, I was prepared to stay distant for the sake of having to go through separating from another animal. What made Honey different from the other pets was how each of us bonded with him in different ways. My mother, who had verbally disdained the idea of having a feline in her home, has gotten attached to Honey in a mother-son relationship and my sister began to learn the responsibilities of pet ownership while making sure he was living a healthy lifestyle. Honey has also become a nocturnal mischievous buddy that waits for me at the balcony when I get home late from work at night and curls around my legs when I’m working on assignments for school at 3 a.m. Although he can be a little crazy and annoying at times, Honey has become the best friend that we need in a year of uncertainty.
Normally cute, “Baby Teddy” took on topics that were important to staff, students, friends and the CSUDH community. The only creative outlet I ever had before was play-
ing music; I never thought drawing would become a new one. My time at the Bulletin allowed me to expand my artisitc abilites and learn how to draw free-hand. The greatest joy I’ve
had during all the chaos is watching my best friend be embraced by everyone. I know “Baby Teddy” is excited for the future and to be at commencement with the Bulletin staff, and so am I.
Spring 2021 special e-edition of award-winning CSUDH Bulletin Newspaper