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Volume 16 Issue 2

Volume 16 Issue 2

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letter from the editor Unprecedented. I’ve been thinking a lot about this word, and how these 13 letters were tossed around so frequently to describe what felt like 366 days of absolute chaos. As we close the book on 2020 and welcome 2021, it’s been difficult to break from pessimism and feel hopeful for the new year. In a weird twist of fate, it feels as though the ghost of 2020 is looming over our lives. During a time when fundamental aspects of our society are being threatened, it’s unsettling to know how omnipotent and fickle change is. However, it’s important to acknowledge that there is no better time than now to exercise your voice and stand up for what is morally right. Only you can decide which way your moral compass leans, and only you can decide the actions you choose to undertake. Unprecedented is used to describe something that has never occurred before -- I see no reason why this 2020 buzzword can’t also be 2021’s. Sure, we have seen headlines just in the first month of 2021 that seem fresh out of Orwell, but if anything, the way we respond to these events provides ample opportunity to grow in this new year. Instead of a year of catastrophe, 2021 can be one of hope: 2021 has the potential to be truly, unprecedentedly great, despite its rocky start. With everything from early successes for new vaccines to our country’s fresh start with a new administration, I choose to greet 2021 with positivity. Here at Pulse, we are choosing the same path. In this issue, we feature a plethora of playful articles, such as Maxine Mah’s piece “The Far Side.” In light of Valentine’s Day, check out Frances Chai’s take on love during isolation in her article, “36 Questions to Fall in Love with Yourself.” As always, we also feature some hard-hitting journalism, as seen with “2020’s Children’s Crusade” by Andrew Gu. From sports to learning what exactly the school board does, this issue of Pulse has something for everyone, like a perfect box of chocolates. Our Creative Directors, Isabella Kwon and Angela Zhang, return to maintain Pulse’s finely crafted aesthetic. Joining them are Fiona Choo and Shera Zhong, whose art harmonizes with our layout. Gracing our cover is art by Rina Li, who flawlessly conveys the romantic nature of winter. The design of this issue aims to be smart, yet easy on the eyes; we hope you find solace in the layouts crafted especially for you, our readers. We, here at Pulse, are also honored to represent and serve a student body so incandescent. I am in awe of my fellow students’ ability to recognize injustice, even if it comes from positions of authority, and call it out. Of course, any glimpse at a history textbook will remind you that teenagers are fully capable of leading social change -- namely, the lunch counter protests and the March on Washington of the civil rights movement, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District during the Vietnam War protests, Tiananmen Square, the Arab Spring, and March for Our Lives. Our value is significantly greater than zero, and no adult can strip us of that. 2020 was hard -- there is no other way to describe all of the terrible events of this past year. It was a year of unparalleled loss and pain, with some rare moments of joy hidden for those brave enough to search. However, it is important in the face of great challenges that we learn, move forward, continue to evolve, and exercise our voices. This is the path our staff here at Pulse have chosen to take, and we hope that you join us. In the meantime, please enjoy Volume 16, Issue 2 of Pulse Magazine. Sincerely, Izzy Ster

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table of contents 04 The Far Side 06 Maxine Mah Passing the Torch 07 Carson McCloskey The Rise of Anime 08 Alice Lin Q&A with Trustee Kirstin Gibson 10 Bella Hirst They’re Just Like Us 12 Jasmine Elasaad New Year, New You 14 Bri Cateriano How the Coronavirus Stole Holidays 15 Ivan Chen 2020’s Children’s Crusade 16 Andrew Gu PoliTiko 18 Cami Dominguez 36 Questions to Fall in 20 LoveFranceswith Yourself Chai The World of Aesthetics Aimee Han Passing the Torch Carson McCloskey The Far Side Maxine Mah The Rise of Anime Alice Lin

Q&A with Trustee Kirstin Gibson Bella Hirst They’re Just Like Us Jasmine Elasaad New Year, New You Bri Cateriano How the Coronavirus Stole Holidays Ivan Chen 2020’s Children’s Crusade Andrew Gu PoliTiko Cami Dominguez 36 Questions to Fall in Love with Yourself Frances Chai

22 24 26 28 30 31 32 33 34 36 38

Freshmeets Freshmeets Ellyse Ellyse Givens Givens Hope Frequently FrequentlyDies Dies Hope Alex Reinsch-Goldstein Reinsch-Goldstein Alex Slam Green Diego:New Interview with Deal Vice Chairman Ron Fowler Sophia Ellie Ballard andLarson Jaden Hunter Algorithm AlgorithmAgenda Agenda Carolyn Carolyn Cui Cui Spotify Spotify Supremacy Supremacy Angela Angela Zhang Zhang Back Back totothe theFuture Future Peter Peter Hong Hong Fashion Fashion Backwards Backwards Aerin Aerin Flaharty Flaharty The The Waiting WaitingGame Game Isabella Isabella Kwon Kwon Slam Diego: Interview Green New Deal with Vice Chairman Ron Fowler Sophia Larson Ellie Ballard and Jaden Hunter 2020Rewind Rewind 2020 Izzy Ster Ster Izzy Twexdous Twexdous Liam Rosenberg Liam Rosenberg 3


The The World World of of Aesthetics Aesthetics By: Aimee Han

By: Aimee Han

or act has never, will or actand has should never, will never, never never,room and for should never allow others to allow room for others craft false impressions ofto impressionsour of uscraft andfalse underestimate As we emerge into us and underestimate our As we of emerge into capabilities. the wonders adulthood, capabilities. the wonders of adulthood, An aesthetic is not finding a socially An aesthetic finding a socially just clothes. On theis not acceptable identity that just clothes. the acceptable contrary, it’s aOn lifestyle satisfies our identity personalthat contrary, it’s a lifestyle satisfies our personal that we have the freedom desires is a frustrating we out haveofthe freedom desires is a frustrating tothat break those process. Far too often to break of our those process. Far many too often molds andout craft own. there are too new molds and craft our own. there are too many new An aesthetic ranges from trends to follow. From An aesthetic ranges from trends to follow. From shifting music tastes to the the clothes we wear, the the clothes we wear, the shifting music tastes we do, the vibes rebirth of scrunchies, to the activities activities we do, the vibes rebirth of scrunchies, we give off to other plaid, and everything else we give off otherwe plaid, and everything else humans, the to music considered vintage, it’s humans, the music we consideredtovintage, it’sAs choose to listen to, and impossible keep up. choose to listen to, and impossible to keep up. As the self-expression we we grow and conform to the self-expression we grow and conform to boldly personify. So,weit’s the molds of these boldlytime personify. So,the it’s the moldssociety of these about we break identities, never about time we break the identities, society never status quo and find our fails to find a way to label status quo andwhether find our fails to find a way to label own aesthetic, it us. We can be too aesthetic, whether it us. We cantoo be feminine, too beown a combination of many masculine, be a combination of many masculine, too feminine, or simply just the too much, or simply just or simply just too much, or simply just embodiment of the one. We’re too weird. embodiment of all one. We’re too weird. adolescents after -- our But I say we forget adolescents after all -our But I say we forget actions have less these labels and actions have less these labelsand andembrace consequences before we’re stereotypes consequences we’re stereotypes and We might asbefore well try our own. The wayembrace we dress 18. 18. things We might as well our own. The way we dress new because lifetry is new things because life is short and we cannot waste short and we to cannot waste opportunities act like opportunities to act like the main character of a the main character coming-of-age movie.of a coming-of-age movie. Now, let’s venture into the Now, let’s venture into the world of some aesthetics. world of some aesthetics. Skater Girls/Boys: Skater Girls/Boys: Imagine embodying the Imagine embodying the modern day vibes of Avril modern day vibes of Avril Lavigne. Dyed hair from Lavigne. Dyed hair from pink to blue, chipped pink to blue, chipped black nail polish, and black nail polish, endless amounts ofand chains of chains toendless wear asamounts belts, necklaces, to wear as belts, necklaces,

bybyAimee AimeeHan Han

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bracelets, earrings, or bracelets, earrings, oryour simply on the side of simplycomprise on the side pants, yourof your pants, comprise appearance. It’s 9 your p.m., the appearance. It’s 9 p.m., the full moon is out, the full moon is out, the and raging heat has ended, raging heat has ended, tonight’s journey is onlyand journey is only attonight’s its beginning. You lace at your its beginning. You lace up red and black up your red and on black Nike Air Jordans top Nike Air Jordans on top of your long Nike socks, of your long Nike socks, adjust your black cargo adjust your black cargo pants, and pull an old pants,graphic and pull old baggy teean from baggy graphic from your dad’s closetteeover a your dad’s closet over black and white striped aTblackYour and friend white striped shirt. picks Tshirt. friend picks you upYour in a car from the you up in a car from 1990s (that smells true the to 1990s (that smells true to its time). It’s barely its time). It’sbut barely functioning, it functioning, but it manages to pull through manages to pull through every day. By the time you every atday. the timethe you arrive theBy skatepark, arrive at the skatepark, the energy is high, and you’re energy is high, and you’re greeted by a sea of beaniegreeted heads by a sea of beaniewearing flying wearing heads flying through the skatepark and throughover the skatepark and jumping the jumping concrete. over the The graffitied graffitied concrete. The night continues as you’re night continues as you’re laughing with your laughing with yournew companions, trying companions, trying new skate tricks and miserably skate tricks and miserably failing, but it’s the attempt failing, but Plus, it’s the that counts. theattempt good that counts. Plus, the good laugh with your friends is laugh with your friends a bonus, as well as the is a bonus, as well asyou the get rush of adrenaline rush of adrenaline you get when you and your when you and your platonic soulmates race on platonic soulmates race on your skateboards through your skateboards through a tunnel under an a tunnel under anThere’s abandoned bridge. abandoned bridge. There’s nothing better than the nothing better than the

feeling of rebellion. feeling of Kids: rebellion. Indie Imagine Indie Kids: Imagine yourself venturing through yourself thrift venturing multiple storesthrough with multiple thrift stores your fluffy cow print with your fluffy cowbandana print purse, a purple purse, a purple bandana shading your face, and shading your your friends byface, yourand side. youronly friends your side. The thingbyholding up The low onlywaisted thing holding your jeans is aup your shoelace. low waisted jeans is a single Handmade single consisting shoelace. Handmade jewelry of yin jewelry of yin and yangconsisting signs, angels, and and yang signs, angels, crystal stones adorn yourand crystal stones adorn your skin. Your delicate mesh skin. Your delicate mesh cheetah print top clashes cheetah print top clashes with the bright green high withyou’re the bright green high tops rocking. After tops you’re rocking. After purchasing jeans from a purchasing from thrift store tojeans paint, youa thrift store to paint, and your friends then you go and your friends to a nearby record then store,go to a nearby record buying old vinyls tostore, buying old vinyls to decorate rooms already decorate rooms already covered in ivy vines, covered inand ivy bright vines, succulents, succulents, and bright posters and tapestries posters and tapestriestime. symbolizing another symbolizing time. Feeling the joyanother of Feeling theshopping, joy of you sustainable sustainable shopping, and your friends decideyou to and your friends decide to go on a spontaneous go onby a spontaneous picnic the intersection picnic by the intersection


of a grassy cliff and graffitied tunnel. Beforehand, you even head to the local grocery store to pick up some things, particularly Yerba Mates and seasonal fruit. Your friends lay out the picnic blanket and you all throw your reusable and colorfully embroidered tote bags onto the ground while you grab out paint and your jeans from the thrift store. With a paintbrush, you delicately decorate your Levi’s with bright yellow flowers. As you share music playlists consisting of Clairo, Wallows, and Rex Orange County, your friends use small beads to tie small braids in each other’s hair or use old yarn to make friendship bracelets. You smile as you take a picture of the neon world you see in front of you with your disposable film camera. There is possibly no better way to spend your adolescent years as they drift away from you. Dark Academia: Imagine living in a big city, like Paris or New

York. You’re a college student in autumn, crushing the crisp leaves with your Doc Marten boots as your friend waits for you at a local coffee shop. They’re enamored with a coverless book acquired from an independent bookstore. Awaiting your presence is a chocolate croissant and your friend who waves hello in their long brown coat, worn-out high top Chuck Taylors, and an old sweater that reminds you of your grandfather. You take your seat as you delicately raise a hot mug that warms your hands from the cool fall breeze while the espresso burns your tongue and fogs your circle-lens glasses. Your friend hands you one side of their earbuds and you are treated with the melodies of the classics: Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, the works. As sudden as it could be, it begins to slightly drizzle, (quite literally) raining on your parade; all you and your friend can do is giggle and begin to dance. Your favorite collared shirt ends up drenched from the raindrops while your plaid pants no longer protect you from the cold. To take shelter from the rain, you and your friend clumsily run towards your favorite museum, admiring the statues and paintings once you arrive. As you hear the locket from your grandmother clang against the buttons

of your coat, life could not be any better. Cottagecore: Imagine waking up at dawn while the sun greets you good morning and the birds sing their morning song. You gracefully rush down the stairs after changing from your silky pajamas to a light sundress. As you rush outside into a field to feel the sunlight on your skin, your bare feet graze the earth beneath you and you feel at peace. The morning routine is variations of a beautiful monotony: feeding goats, fixing yourself toast with some homemade apricot jam, and picking edible flowers from the field to add some flair to some freshly-baked sugar cookies. You wash your clothes with freshwater from a well and hang up your laundry, consisting of sundresses and corset tops, between trees to dry. Following the morning, you decide to picnic by the nearby river, lightly skipping with a wooden basket, as if you are Little Red Riding Hood. Nothing excites you more than the idea of drinking tea, eating jelly cookies covered in powdered sugar, and devouring dainty tea sandwiches of fresh ingredients of fig and creme fraiche that was acquired from a friendly local vendor at the farmer’s market in town. You pull out some parchment paper as you observe the gift

of Mother Nature around you while you read some poetry to nearby stray cats. Life is a never ending happily ever after. Sometimes the difficult part of finding your aesthetic is losing yourself in the process. What is important to understand is that life is never black and white, and you don’t have to identify with a certain lifestyle in order to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. Finding an aesthetic or a combination of multiple is not the most difficult part, but embodying whatever lifestyle you choose is. Regardless of the aesthetic(s) you choose, it’s essential to remember that life is short and there’s only so much time to enjoy the memories and experiences you have with your loved ones and yourself. Although unfortunate that all movies come to an end, knowing that you were the main character and you lived it up to the fullest makes it all worthwhile.

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The After having to experience the burning hellfire that was the year 2020, complete with mass social-reform movements, the deaths of worldrenowned celebrities, and an election that very well decided the fate of America, it’s always nice to take a step back and remember one of history’s most irrelevant -- but simultaneously relevant -pieces of artwork ever created: “Cow Tools.” Gary Larson, the 1980s cartoon mastermind behind the single panel comic strip, “The Far Side” (a series based on extremely surrealistic and improbable situations filled with anthropomorphic characters), created a disputed comic that triggered “hysteria” throughout America. The panel features a large cow standing over a table covered in misshapen, lumpy objects complete with the simple caption, “Cow Tools.” Needless to say, the comic occupied the mind of anyone lucky enough to stumble across it. Despite a countless number of letters and phone calls to the artist, only one thing was clear: cow tools -- the most unlikely of heroes -- caught the attention of America.

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Far

Soon enough, Larson responded to the avalanche of queries by simply saying that if a cow were to make tools, they would be rather unsuccessful. Anticlimactic, right? But before we criticize what Larson truly meant in creating the infamous “Cow Tools” masterpiece, we should first look at a brief history of how comics have worked to influence society overtime. Historically, comics have been used to convey popular culture, as seen in comic strips like “Peanuts” and “Calvin and Hobbes,” as well as critical views of current events. For example, if we take a minute to dust off the AP U.S. History knowledge that we all have probably already forgotten, during

the Gilded Age (18701900s), editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast used his political cartoons to bring to light the events of the Tammany Ring and the theft of millions of New York taxpayers’ hardearned money by political machine leader William “Boss” Tweed. His comics led to Tweed’s arrest in Spain when officials recognized his iconic image based on one of Nast’s cartoons. The usage of comics throughout history is interlinked with the idea of quickly spreading news through easy-to-decipher art; they have ability to send out a single image in order to shift public opinion. More recently in the 21st century, comics featured in newspapers and magazines -- such as

those found in the New Yorker -- focus on controversial topics spanning social reform, economic issues, and other global crises, which brings us back to Larson and his cartoon: What makes “Cow Tools” relevant to society in the 1980s, much less society today? Cow Tools serves to remind us that sometimes things are actually exactly as they seem; there isn’t always a “deeper” meaning to everything. For example, maybe when we receive a text from our crush that simply says, “heyyy,” we don’t need to perform insane mathematical equations on why including three Y’s instead of one statistically means they’re more likely to like us back; they were probably just trying to say hello. Or maybe “Cow Tools” wasn’t supposed to have a greater message in reminding us that things can be exactly as expected -- ironically enough, I might be thinking too far into it. Yet, at the start of this promising new year, it’s good to remind yourself that things aren’t always the way you think they are. Sometimes it’s good to look at things from the far side.

BybyMaxine MaxineMah Mah


Passing the Torch

By Carson McCloskey

On November 3, 2020, Americans had their eyes glued to their televisions, waiting to see who the next president of the United States would be. Many went to bed that night assuming that Donald Trump would win a second term. However, by the next morning, everything had changed. Mail-in ballots pushed former Vice President Joe Biden over the lead, flipping former red states, such as Georgia, and swing states, such as Pennsylvania, blue. A few days later, the Associated Press projected that Joe Biden would become the next president of the United States. The transfer of power officially took place on January 20, 2021, with the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. This ushered the departure of former President Donald Trump from office. Usually, American transfers of power are seamless. This one, though, has been unprecedented from the start. As soon as the media projected Joe Biden as president-elect, Donald Trump turned to his supporters and refused to concede. A concession speech is not necessary for a successful transition, but

it’s tradition for defeated American politicians to concede. Trump made it clear that he believes his loss is due to fraud associated with mail-in ballots and other false “fraudulent election” claims. Proof only exists for a microscopic amount of fraud -- certainly not enough to swing the election. Moreover, prior to the election, Trump told his supporters to avoid mailing in their ballots, so it’s not much of a surprise that mail-in ballots generally favored Biden. Still, Donald Trump continued to delegitimize the election and sued states, like Georgia and Pennsylvania, that went for Biden. The Trump administration has won one of its suits (out of more than sixty), and the win invalidated a small number of absentee Pennsylvania ballots missing IDs that arrived after November 3. On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump spoke to a crowd outside of the United States Capitol building moments before Congress began certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes. During his speech, Trump not only claimed that the election was “rigged” and that he is the real winner of the

election, but he also encouraged his supporters to protest the certification proceedings. Following the speech, Trump supporters rushed the Capitol building, disrupting the proceedings and breaking through police barricades, and occupied the building. The chaos lasted for hours, and five people died as a result of the riot. Twitter remarks from Donald Trump himself kept the rioters riled up and prepared to complete what some called an attempted coup d’etat, but the National Guard eventually brought peace to the Capitol once again and dispersed the rioters. Once the Capitol was deemed safe, Congress reconvened and finished the confirmation process. The day after, President Trump released a video claiming that the transition of power on January 20 will happen in an orderly fashion. Donald Trump, however, has yet to formally concede, and he most likely won’t. As of January 20, our country greeted a new administration.. So, how will Biden’s presidency differ from Trump’s? In Biden’s victory speech, he assured the country that he would be a president

for all Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike. the rhetoric of bipartisan unity, in contrast to the division caused by President Trump. The biggest difference between the two will be the handling of the COVID19 pandemic. Unlike Trump’s COVID-19 plan, which boils down to waiting until a vaccine is ready, Biden has stated that he plans to enforce stricter social distancing and mask-wearing to slow the spread until vaccinations become available for all Americans.. The presidentelect has also developed plans to address rising global temperatures, as opposed to Trump’s policy of environmental deregulation and refusal to acknowledge climate change as an important issue. Donald Trump has not conceded, has supported a domestic terrorist attack, and has insinuated that he rightfully won the 2020 election (which he did not). Yet despite the chaos, the violence, and the seething anger, the country will move forward nonetheless.

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It’s no surprise that anime is becoming more mainstream in the West, with shows like “Haikyuu!!” and “Boku no Hero Academia” (aka “My Hero Academia”) gaining impressive popularity in the past year. But what exactly sparked anime’s rise to fame? To find out, we’ll look back and analyze the path it has taken over the decades to get to this point. 1960-1990: Starting with titles like “Astro Boy,”

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“Gigantor,” and “Speed Racer,” the 1960s were the first time Americans were introduced to animation from Japan. This initial wave was received positively in the U.S., specifically among young boys, but was not seen as distinctly Japanese due to the similar art styles between anime and American cartoons (like “Atom Ant”) that were airing at the time. Perhaps due to the excitement of the Space Race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union or the release of “Star Wars” in 1977, battles in outer space were all the rage in the 1970s. Regardless of the source of excitement, sci-fi titles like “Star Blazers” and “Battle of the Planets” were the most popular of the 1970s. While both were similar in genre, “Star Blazers” was popular mostly on the East Coast and was more faithful to the original Japanese version compared to the heavily-edited “Battle of the Planets.” Still, both played a role in cultivating a sci-fi-loving foundation for anime fans. The 1980s can be summed up

pretty well in just one word: mecha. Mecha anime is anime that focuses on giant robots or any mechanical objects, primarily in the context of combat. “Robotech” and “Votron: Defender of the Universe” are great examples of popular mecha anime from the 1980s. While “Robotech” widened anime’s horizons to older audiences, “Voltron: Defender of the Universe” appealed mostly to younger audiences. In addition to the mecha anime, anime feature films were also taking off in the U.S. during this decade; Streamline Pictures, the first company to be dedicated to anime dubs (replacing the Japanese voice track with an English translation), dubbed the Studio Ghibli films “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” and “Castle in the Sky.” Though their limited releases meant they weren’t very successful, they were the beginning of an anime wave that would sweep America. On the other hand, the feature film “Akira” gained significant and immediate popularity among the American audience with its heavier subject matter and


Art by Fiona Choo mature themes. 1990: Anime Stonks The 1990s were when anime really blew up, with Cartoon Network’s primary block for action and animation, Toonami, giving anime a wider audience than ever before. Anime from the 1990s had a significant cultural impact; shows geared towards younger viewers such as “Sailor Moon,” “Dragon Ball Z,” “Pokémon,” and “Gundam Wing” were all immensely popular anime of the time, and they introduced Japanese pop culture to the American mainstream. For older folk, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” was a solid show with complex concepts focusing on philosophy, religion, and psychology, showcasing the diversity of anime. In addition, distribution sites Pioneer, Funimation, and Manga Video helped make anime more accessible for American audiences. 2000-Today: One of the Big Kids Now During the 2000s, Cartoon Network’s Toonami continued to air popular shows with its late-night counterpart, Adult Swim, airing some

of the most popular anime of the decade, including “Cowboy Bebop.” In addition, the rise of the internet and subsequent digital distribution of anime have greatly increased access for many American fans. Now popular series like “Haikyuu!!,” “Death Note,” “Naruto,” and “Sword Art Online” are even available on Netflix. Having anime available on popular streaming services also increases the amount of people who are introduced to anime. Specifically, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was added to Netflix this spring and essentially served as a gateway drug to anime for many new fans. Beyond anime series, many animated feature films saw an explosion in popularity; “Spirited Away,” for example, became the first anime film to be nominated for and win an Academy Award. Other Studio Ghibli films like “Ponyo,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” and “From Up on Poppy Hill” have also achieved impressive commercial success in the States. More recently, Makoto Shinkai’s “Your Name” and

Name” and With “Weathering “Weathering With You” and Naoko You” and “A Yamada’s Naoko Silent Voice” Yamada’s “A have received Silent Voice” positive have received reviews from positive critics around reviews from the world, critics around including in the world, U.S.. including in the of Regardless U.S.. whether you’re an Regardless OG weeb or justof whether you’re an this OG discovered anime weeb or just past year, I’mdiscovered sure you’ll anime thisthe past year,ofI’m find that world sure you’ll findis that the Japanimation world of Japanimation wonderfully bountiful. is wonderfully bountiful. There are plenty of genres There of genres under are the plenty umbrella of under the umbrella of anime, making it easy to anime, it easy to fall intomaking the anime rabbit fall thea anime hole.into With range that rabbit hole. the With a spans from range that spans fit sweetest romance from sweetest to givetheanyone romance fitthe to give diabetes to most anyone diabetes to action-packed mecha the most battles to actionpacked mecha and philosophical battles to melancholic drama, philosophical there really is and melancholic drama, there something for everyone. really something To myisfellow hole- for everyone. To nice my fellow dwellers, it’s to see hole-dwellers, it’s you nice to you here, I hope see youyour here,stay. I hope enjoy you enjoy your stay.

by Alice Lin

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with Trustee with Trustee Kristin Gibson Kristin Gibson PULSE: First up, when PULSE: COVID First is notup, anwhen issue, COVID not of an the issue, what are issome what are some of the things that the board things decides?that the board decides? Initially a board GIBSON: GIBSON: Initially board works together witha the works together with the community, the parents, community, the students, the andparents, they the students, and create a common they vision create common for thea district. Wevision adopt for the district. We adopt and evaluate policies that and evaluate policies that deal with employment, deal with employment, instruction, students, instruction,and students, discipline, the discipline, and functions of thethe board. functions the board.and We adopt of curriculum We monitor adopt curriculum we student and we monitor student progress, so we’re always progress, so we’re getting reports on always how getting reports on how students are doing. students Oneare of doing. the biggest One of the jobs is to hire andbiggest support jobssuperintendent, is to hire and support the so we the superintendent, want to ideally hire so a we want to ideally hire superintendent that awe superintendent thatour we believe can execute believe can execute our visions and our goals, and visions and our our policies, andgoals, then and we our policies, then we regularly andand timely regularly and timely evaluate that evaluate that superintendent based on superintendent based on that vision. that vision.

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This next one is huge next one is huge as wellThis : adopting a fiscally as well: adopting a fiscally responsible budget. We responsible budget. We make sure that we can make sure that we can maintain the quality of maintain the quality of our educational program our educational program in a fiscally sound way. in fiscally soundtoway. Weaare dedicated We are dedicated student safety, we to establish student safety, we establish a framework for collective abargaining frameworkwith for our collective staff bargaining with our so that we follow all staff the so that we follow all laws and regulations the laws andtoregulations related making related to about making decisions teacher decisions about teacher salaries, faculty work salaries, faculty work conditions, those sorts of conditions, thosepromote sorts of things. We also things. We also promote community leadership on community leadership educational issues and on educational advocate on issues behalfand of advocate on behalf of students. students. PULSE: And how would PULSE: And the how would you describe you describe the relationship between relationship between parents and the board, preparents and the board, preCOVID? COVID? PULSE: We have a very PULSE: Wevery have a very dedicated, highlydedicated, parent very highlyinformed informed parent community. I think in all, community. I think the relationships havein all, the relationships been positive, buthave the been positive, but parents are not shythe to let parents not they shy to us knoware when feellet us know when they feelthat like there’s something like there’s something that they’d like to see change they’d like to see change [in]. We certainly don’t [in]. Wetocertainly don’t assume be perfect and assume to be perfect we value that kind ofand we value thatinput; kind in of community community input; general, I think theinvast general, I think the have vast majority of parents majority of parents have felt quite content. We felt quite content. We work closely with several work closely with several parent groups that meet parent groups that meet with staff regularly, and withalso staff regularly, we have parentsand who we also have parents connect regularly withwho our connect regularly with our principals, and those principals, and those relationships have been relationships have been

healthy. healthy. PULSE: How has COVID PULSE: How changed thosehas COVID changed those relationships? relationships? GIBSON: It’s an unusual GIBSON: It’s an unusual time in which there aren’t time in which there aren’t clear paths to take and we clear paths to take and we are figuring things out as are go, figuring out as we and sothings you see we go, and so you see some very strong, very some veryopinions strong, very different different opinions emerging. Our job is to do emerging. Our the best that wejob canistoto do the best that we canato unify, but it’s been unify, but Part it’s been a goal challenge. of our challenge. Part of our goal going forward is not only going forward is not only finding the solutions to finding the solutions help us through this to help us through this pandemic, but also pandemic, but also thinking forward -- how thinking forward do we unify the -- how do we unify community, the mend any community, mend anythose trust that’s been lost, trust that’s been lost, those sorts of things. sorts of things. PULSE: And how would PULSE: Andhas howchanged would you say this you relationship say this has between changed the the relationship between board and the students the board and the students of the district? of the district? GIBSON: Our students GIBSON: Our students are more involved than are more involved thanpast, they have been in the they we have beenreally in the past, and really value and we really really value that and appreciate that. I that that. hear and fromappreciate students in a I hear from students a variety of ways on ainpretty variety of ways on a pretty regular basis, and what I regular basis, andtill what I would say is, up now, wouldwere say is, upof till now, there a lot there were a lot of students that weren’t even students that weren’t even familiar with the school familiarNow withI the school board. think they’re board. Now I think they’re far more aware of what we far more aware of what we do. do. They have been able haveand been able to seeThey nuances to see nuances and complexities and shades of complexities andhad shades of gray when we’ve gray when we’ve had controversy -- whether it controversy whether it be reopening-- the schools be the reopening thegrading, schools or issues of or the issues of grading,

**Edited for length and clarity** **Edited for length and clarity**

and they have this ability and they have this ability to express compassion and to express compassion understanding towards and understanding towards each other when their each other when their opinions differ. They’re opinions differ. They’re very compassionate to us very compassionate as district staff who to areus as district staff who doing our best but are doing ouraren’t best but certainly perfect, certainly aren’t perfect, and they have that insight and they have that that division is not insight a that division is not a strength. strength. PULSE: And what would PULSE: Andrelationship what would you say the you say the relationship between teachers and the between teachers and the board was like, preboard was like, preCOVID? COVID? We have several GIBSON: GIBSON: have several decades of We a reputation of decades of a reputation of having really solid having really with solid both relationships relationships with both our teachers and our our teachers and our classified staff. We’ve been classified staff.-- We’ve been really blessed that can be really blessed -that can a very big challenge for abe aschool very big challenge for a board member. school board member.are Teachers’ associations Teachers’ associations designed to protect theare designed to protectbut thethey needs of teachers, needshave of teachers, but they also always exhibited also have always exhibited to me this common to me this concern forcommon the students. concern theare students. They loveforand They love and are passionate about what is passionate about best for kids, andwhat that’sis best of forthe kids, and that’s sort common focus sort of the common focus of everyone. I’ve always of everyone. I’ve always had the philosophy that had thecare philosophy that taking of our teachers taking care of our teachers really is a way of taking really a way of taking care ofisour students. Our care of our teachers are students. brilliant, Our and teachers are brilliant, and they’re extremely they’re extremely hardworking. As an hardworking. educator, I canAsseeanthe educator, I candoing see the things they’re and things they’re doing and it’s quite amazing. They’ve it’s quite amazing. They’ve been excellent been excellent collaborators and partners collaborators and partners in our relationship. in our relationship. PULSE: What would you PULSE: What would you

By By Bella Bella Hirst Hirst


say is the most important say is the most important thing you’ve learned thing learned duringyou’ve your time on the during your time on the board? board? GIBSON: I think the GIBSON: I think biggest thing reallythe has to biggest thing really to do with the idea of has proper do with the idea of proper governance, the governance, theputting importance of importance of puttingin aside your differences aside your differences in the interests of students. the of students. The interests importance of being The importance of being unified in that big, general unified in that big, general purpose, and learning to purpose, and learning to respectfully and respectfully and compassionately disagree, compassionately knowing that ourdisagree, knowing opinions that may our differ, but opinions may differ, but we are truly disagreeing we are truly disagreeing with the same goal in with sameI goal mind.the When havein four mind. When I have four people sitting up there people sitting up there with me, knowing that with me, knowing that they’re going to support they’re going to support me no matter what, I can me no matter what, I can go into the most difficult go into theand most difficult situations have really situations and have really great outcomes. great outcomes. PULSE: And what would PULSE: Andyour whatmost would you say was you say was your most rewarding moment? rewarding moment? GIBSON: I’ve had several, GIBSON: I’ve but a Del Mar had one several, is but a Del Mar oneright is popping to mind popping to mind right now, and it’s an example now, andcan it’shappen an example of what when of what can happen there’s challenges, butwhen there’s but We there’s challenges, a united front. there’s united front. We had thea unfortunate had the unfortunate coincidence of launching coincidence launching the CommonofCore the Common Core standards at the same time standards at the same time we were facing the we were facing the recession. I was 100% recession. I was prepared for the100% teachers prepared for teachers to say “we’re the going to have to say “we’re going to this have to roll back on doing to roll back on doing this professional development professional development and this work right now,” and work right now,” and this I personally would and personally wouldof haveIbeen in support have been in support of

that. It was amazing to see that. wascolleagues, amazing to see one ofIt my one colleagues, who’sofamy great fiscal who’s a great fiscal “no, conservative, saying conservative, saying “no, we’re going to go forward we’re goingthis to isgothe forward with this, kind with this, this is the kind of thing you invest in.” of thing you invest in.” Just seeing how in a time Just seeing how a time of challenge, we in came of challenge, we came together and we did what together andkids we did was best for waswhat sort was best for kids was of magical. That worksort was of That themagical. thing that I’mwork was the thing most that I’m probably proud of probably most proud of I’ve still got time though! I’ve still got time though! PULSE: And on the other PULSE: And theyour other side, what hason been side, has moment? been your most what difficult most difficult moment? GIBSON: What’s going on GIBSON: goingthe on right now What’s is absolutely right is absolutely most now difficult. When I the most difficult. became a schoolWhen boardI became a school member, I don’t board think I member, I don’t think foresaw a situation like I foresaw a situation like this, where I’m dealing this, where I’m dealing with people’s lives. Not with only people’s is that a lives. lot ofNot only is that a lot of pressure, it’s also been very pressure, it’s also been very hard to navigate through hard navigate through all thetoinformation and all the information research that I need and to research thatmaking I need to know when know whenIt’smaking decisions. been just a decisions. It’samount been just tremendous of a tremendous amount work, and I take a lotofof work, and I take a lot of responsibility there’s responsibility there’s things I know that I could things I know that I could have done differently as have done differently an individual board as an individual member, but itboard is really member, reallylike sad to seebut howit aiscrisis sad see how a crisis likeI this to affects a community. this affects a community. feel that people are afraid,I feel people arethat. afraid, and that I understand and I understand that. People love their children, People love their children, and I understand that. I and I understand that. I wonder if there’s more wonder if there’s more that we could have done that we could have done as a board, or can still do as a board, or can still as a board, to bring do as a board, bring One together thattounity. together that unity. One

of my favorite quotes is of my favorite quotes is Winston Churchill: Winston Churchill: “When there is no enemy “When there is no enemy within, the enemies within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” outside cannottohurt you.” It’s important realize It’s important to realize that people on both sides that both the sides of thepeople issue on all have of thebig issue allinhave the same idea mind, same big idea in mind, which is getting things which getting and things back toisnormal taking back to normal and taking care of everyone’s mental, care of everyone’s mental, physical and academic physical and academic well-being. well-being. PULSE: Obviously there PULSE: Obviously are members of thethere are members of the community who are not as community who are not as happy with the board’s happy with the board’s decisions, so do you have decisions, you have a message so fordo people who aaremessage for people feeling dissatisfiedwho with are feeling dissatisfied with what’s going on? what’s going on? GIBSON: I think my GIBSON: I think message would be my to first message would be to first be savvy about the be savvy about the information you’re information you’remedia consuming. Social consuming. Social media has given us some great has given us some great access to information, but access to just information, I’ve also seen a lot but of I’ve also just seen a lot of major misunderstandings. major I thinkmisunderstandings. that right now it’s Itoo think right closethat to us to now do a it’s too close to us to do a of really valid assessment really valid assessment of how effective we’ve been, how we’ve but Ieffective would ask for been, people but I would ask for people to trust that we have the to that we and havetothe besttrust intentions best and tokeep holdintentions us accountable: hold us accountable: keep asking the hard questions asking the hard questions and keep letting voices be and keep letting voices be heard. heard. PULSE: How do you PULSE: How do the youonly think that being think that parent being the SDUHSD on only the SDUHSD parent the board has affectedon your board has affected your experiences? experiences? GIBSON: I think it’s GIBSON: I think it’s extremely helpful. I get to extremely helpful. I get see how it plays out, notto see plays out,child, not onlyhow withit my own only with my own child,

but because I have but because Itohave connections her friends connections to her friends and our neighbors. I get and our neighbors. I get Mr. Coppo’s Mr. Coppo’s communications every communications every Friday. I know, for Friday. I know, for example, what registering example, registering for classeswhat in Aeries in the for classes in Aeries summer looks like. Iingettheto summer looksour like. I get to see the work teachers see the work our teachers are doing just by walking are doing justupstairs. by walking by the office I by the office upstairs. know distance learningI is know going distance extremelylearning well. I is going extremely I think it helps mewell. to be think it helps me to be informed and it also helps informed and it also helps me to be reassured. me to beAnd reassured. PULSE: before we PULSE: And we finish, is therebefore anything finish, is there anything else you want to say or else want to say or talk you about? talk about? GIBSON: Just in general GIBSON: Just in general that I am extremely that I amand extremely grateful have been so grateful and been so impressed byhave our students. impressed by our students. I am really grateful that Ipeople am really that like grateful you are taking people like you are taking the time to ask these the time tothat ask we these questions, have questions, that we student journalism,have that student we have journalism, ASB, that wethat have we have board ASB, that we have student members student board members that we connect with, and that we connect I would just like with, to seeand Ithose would just like to see opportunities those expandopportunities even further. If expand If studentseven ever further. have ideas students ever have ideas for other ways to connect for other ways connect or interact withtothe board, or interact with the board, we want to hear from you we want to hear from you and we want to hear from and want fromI all ofweyou. A to lothear of times all of you. A lot of times interact with kids who areI interact who are on ASB,with or onkids a sports on ASB, on a sports team, butorI want to talk to team, but I want to talk to the kids who maybe aren’t the kids who maybe aren’t involved in activities involved inmight activities where they have where they might have access to me as easily. access to me as easily. Even if you’re not happy Even if you’re with me, I wantnot to happy hear with me, I want to hear from you. from you.

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**Edited for length and clarity** **Edited for length and clarity**


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by Jasmine Elasaad


On October 19, 2020, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) tweeted: “Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote?” After receiving an overwhelming response from her followers, she was able to set up a livestream on Twitch, a popular live streaming service, and collaborate with many popular streamers, such as Pokimane and Jacksepticeye. The group of ten played Among Us together, a game that has gained massive traction during the pandemic. This was all done in an effort to motivate young adults to vote. Many politicians are doing all they can to appeal to the youngest generation of voters, using tactics such as filming rap videos, creating Snapchat filters, and posting “relatable” tweets, but AOC did it in a way that felt more authentic to young viewers. She met them where they hang out and, for a few hours, acted just like...well, a regular person. AOC’s unusual choice in outreach events ended up being an incredibly successful one. Her livestream racked up record numbers,

outperforming even the most famous Twitch streamers with a staggering 439,000 viewers (the 5th most watched stream in Twitch history) and a 550,000 follower gain in just one day -- an amount far higher than that of any other politician on the platform. For the most part, there was no talk of politics on her stream (with the exception of a few comments regarding the Green New Deal and her preference on how Vice President Mike Pence should address her), but she was able to end it with a powerful message, urging her younger audience to vote and stressing the importance of their voice in this particular presidential election. Through the few hours she spent live streaming, AOC was able to prove that she knows how to relate to younger audiences better than other politicians, who seem to be far too removed from what young people are doing nowadays. But why are politicians trying to make an effort to appeal to Gen Z, and how should they go about doing it? Younger Americans vote at considerably lower rates than any other age group,

and nowadays, many of them just don’t seem to pay much attention to politics. Take the 2012 election for instance, when 72% of those who were 65 and over voted, compared to just 45% of those in the 18-29 age range (Statista). This generation is one of the largest groups of potential voters, but many aren’t even exercising their right to vote. Because this group can be difficult to reach, politicians who want to attract these young voters need to go to where they are, and in 2020, Twitch seems to be a

“Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote?” good way to do this. AOC is not the only politician who has experienced success reaching out to this young generation via social media. Take Bernie Sanders, for example. He seemed to clue in on how Gen Z favors more personal approaches over

traditional methods. Sanders began posting Snapchat stories attempting to develop a closer connection between himself and his watchers -one of the most popular being of him playing a game of basketball with his grandchildren. TikTok is another platform that has become extremely popular among Gen Z, and politicians like Andrew Yang, Matthew Little, and Jon Ossoff have created accounts of their own to reach out to young voters. AOC’s stream and other politicians’ increasing usage of social media reflect a growing awareness of how to reach out to younger generations. Sometimes in the past, their efforts to connect with youths have come off as stilted and opportunistic, only encouraging the Gen Z sentiment that politicians don’t even try to understand us. The key to AOC’s success had to do with how she was able to notice the interest that had been taken in the game, and how she was able to take her “mask” off and just have a good time like anyone else.

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byby Bri Bri Cateriano Cateriano We’ve We’ve all all been been there. there. On OnJanuary January 1,1, you’re you’re out out running runningalong along with with every every other otherperson person whose whose resolution was was to to finally finally resolution “getfit” fit”in in the the new new year. year. “get Yourmom mom tries tries cooking cooking Your gluten-free, vegan, vegan, keto keto gluten-free, recipes for dinner. Yet, aa recipes for dinner. Yet, fewdays dayslater, later, you’re you’re back back few onyour your bed bed watching watching on YouTube, eating eating aa YouTube, cheeseburger from from In-NIn-Ncheeseburger Out.Odds Odds are, are, atat some some Out. pointin in your your life, life, you you point havemade made aa New New Year’s Year’s have resolution, followed followed itit for for resolution, aboutaaweek, week, and and then then about forgotten all all about about it. it. At At forgotten the beginning of each the beginning of each year,people people from from all all over over year, theworld world set set personal personal the goalsthey they hope hope to to goals accomplish by by the the end end of of accomplish theyear. year. These These goals goals are are the attractive to to many many because because attractive givespeople people the the ititgives opportunity for for aa fresh fresh opportunity start.Despite Despite this, this, itit can can start. stillbe bedifficult difficult to to stick stick still withyour your resolutions; resolutions; with often,they they tend tend to to be be too too often, ambitious to to successfully successfully ambitious achieve. Most Most resolutions resolutions achieve. areset setto tohelp help people people are eliminate their bad habits habits eliminate their bad andhelp help people people embark embark and onaajourney journey towards towards on

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mental mentaland andphysical physical mental and physical personal personalgrowth. growth.This This personal growth. This coming comingyear yearisis isone onethat that coming year one that presents presentshope, hope, presents hope, opportunity, opportunity,and andaaachance chance opportunity, and chance for everyone everyone to redeem for everyoneto toredeem redeem themselves following the themselves themselvesfollowing followingthe the disaster that was 2020. disaster disasterthat thatwas was2020. 2020. Here are are some tips for Here aresome sometips tipsfor for following through with following followingthrough throughwith with your resolution resolution this year. your resolutionthis thisyear. year. When constructing When Whenconstructing constructing the perfect perfect New Year’s the perfectNew NewYear’s Year’s resolution, important resolution, resolution,itititisis isimportant important to consider consider whether or not to considerwhether whetheror ornot not this goal goal realistic. For this goalisis isrealistic. realistic.For For example, setting example, example,setting settingaaa resolution to never eat resolution resolutionto tonever nevereat eat your favorite favorite kind of ice your favoritekind kindof ofice ice cream again setting you cream creamagain againisis issetting settingyou you up to to fail (who can resist up tofail fail(who (whocan canresist resistaaa pint of of Ben and Jerry’s pint ofBen Benand andJerry’s Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream?). cookie cookiedough doughice icecream?). cream?). Rather, better and more Rather, Rather,aaabetter betterand andmore more attainable way to diminish attainable attainableway wayto todiminish diminish your ice ice cream intake to your icecream creamintake intakeisisisto to set aa goal goal to eat less than set goalto toeat eatless lessthan than you previously previously did, as you previouslydid, did,as as setting a more realistic setting settingaamore morerealistic realistic goal will will encourage you to goal willencourage encourageyou youto to stick with with it. Creating stick withit. it.Creating Creatingaaa plan for for how you will plan forhow howyou youwill will accomplish this just as accomplish accomplishthis thisisisisjust justas as important as being important importantasasbeing being pragmatic, since plan pragmatic, pragmatic,since sinceaaaplan plan will help help you maintain will helpyou youmaintain maintain accountability for your accountability accountabilityfor foryour your actions. actions. actions.

Another Anotherimportant important Another important factor factorthat thatgoes goesinto into factor that goes into maintaining maintainingyour yourNew New maintaining your New Year’s Year’sresolution resolutionisisissetting setting Year’s resolution setting up reward system for up upaaareward rewardsystem systemfor for when you are successful. when whenyou youare aresuccessful. successful. Returning to the previous Returning Returningto tothe theprevious previous example, your goal to example, example,ifififyour yourgoal goalisisisto to reduce the amount of ice reduce reducethe theamount amountofofice ice cream you eat and you cream creamyou youeat eatand andyou you have been successful in have havebeen beensuccessful successfulin in eating less than before, eating eatingless lessthan thanbefore, before, treat yourself for your treat treatyourself yourselffor foryour your accomplishments. For accomplishments. accomplishments.For For example, you find that example, example,ifififyou youfind findthat that you have eaten less ice you youhave haveeaten eatenless lessice ice cream, allow yourself to cream, cream,allow allowyourself yourselfto to eat more one day week. eat eatmore moreone oneday dayaaaweek. week. The idea of reward The Theidea ideaof ofaaareward reward system works, as stems system systemworks, works,as asitititstems stems from the psychological from fromthe thepsychological psychological practice of operant practice practiceof ofoperant operant conditioning, process conditioning, conditioning,aaaprocess process that includes that thatincludes includes strengthening particular strengthening strengtheningaaaparticular particular behavior through the behavior behaviorthrough throughthe the enforcement of reward enforcement enforcementof ofaaareward reward or punishment. Rewarding or orpunishment. punishment.Rewarding Rewarding yourself after success yourself yourselfafter afteraaasuccess successisisis an example of positive an anexample exampleof ofpositive positive reinforcement and will reinforcement reinforcementand andwill will help you to associate help helpyou youto toassociate associate maintaining the goal with maintaining maintainingthe thegoal goalwith with the good feeling elicited the thegood goodfeeling feelingelicited elicited by the reward. by bythe thereward. reward. Furthermore, Furthermore, Furthermore,aaa common mistake that common commonmistake mistakethat that many make when setting many manymake makewhen whensetting setting

their theirgoals goalsisisissetting settingtoo too their goals setting too many manyof ofthem. them.When When many of them. When making makingaaaNew NewYear’s Year’s making New Year’s resolution, resolution,itititisisisbest bestto toset set resolution, best to set one goal and put all of one onegoal goaland andput putall allof of your time, energy, and your yourtime, time,energy, energy,and and focus into accomplishing focus focusinto intoaccomplishing accomplishing it. Setting too many goals it. it.Setting Settingtoo toomany manygoals goals is not ideal because when isisnot notideal idealbecause becausewhen when you do this, you tend to you youdo dothis, this,you youtend tendto to spread yourself too thin spread spreadyourself yourselftoo toothin thin and overexert yourself. and andoverexert overexertyourself. yourself. Each year, people Each Eachyear, year,people people vow to achieve personal vow vowto toachieve achievepersonal personal growth, and make growth, growth,and andmake make promises to themselves promises promisesto tothemselves themselves (perhaps after too many (perhaps (perhapsafter aftertoo toomany many glasses of champagne or glasses glassesof ofchampagne champagneor or sparkling apple cider). sparkling sparklingapple applecider). cider). Setting New Year’s Setting SettingaaaNew NewYear’s Year’s resolution provides you resolution resolutionprovides providesyou you with the opportunity to with withthe theopportunity opportunityto to improve yourself. You can improve improveyourself. yourself.You Youcan can achieve these goals at the achieve achievethese thesegoals goalsat atthe the start of your new year by start startof ofyour yournew newyear yearby by making them realistic, making makingthem themrealistic, realistic, rewarding yourself rewarding rewardingyourself yourself following success, and by following followingaaasuccess, success,and andby by honing in on and honing honingin inon onand and planning out specific planning planningout outaaaspecific specific goal. Taking the right goal. goal.Taking Takingthe theright right steps to better yourself at steps stepsto tobetter betteryourself yourselfat at the beginning of this new the thebeginning beginningof ofthis thisnew new year exciting and crucial year yearisisisexciting excitingand andcrucial crucial to making 2021 the most to tomaking making2021 2021the themost most rewarding year yet. Good rewarding rewardingyear yearyet. yet.Good Good luck, Ravens! luck, luck,Ravens! Ravens!


Back in in 2019, 2019, when when Back everyone was was staying staying up up everyone late to to ring ring in in the the new new late year, we we imagined imagined aa 2020 2020 year, set with with hundreds hundreds of of goals goals set to achieve achieve and and conquer. conquer. to Little did did we we know know that that Little our normal lives would be our normal lives would be in upheaval upheaval for for most most of of in the year; year; one one moment moment the the the Coronavirus appeared appeared on on Coronavirus the news news as as aa foreign foreign issue; issue; the the next, next, we we were were told told to to the go into into quarantine quarantine for for aa go few weeks, weeks, then then months, months, few then indefinitely. indefinitely. As As we we then watched 2020 2020 come come to to aa watched close close and and welcomed welcomed 2021, 2021, people people had had to to adapt adapt and and plan plan new new ways ways to to celebrate celebrate beloved beloved holidays holidays such such as as Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas, Hanukkah, Hanukkah, New New Year’s Year’s Eve, Eve, and and other other mass gatherings mass gatherings of of celebration. celebration. Although Although the the holidays holidays in in 2020 2020 may may not not have have felt felt complete complete with with relatives relatives around around to to celebrate, celebrate, itit was was important important to to maintain maintain social social distancing distancing guidelines guidelines to decrease to decrease the the risk risk of of you you or or your your loved loved ones ones from from suffering suffering and and spreading spreading the the effects effects of of the the Coronavirus. Coronavirus. When When you you celebrated celebrated Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas, or or Hanukkah, Hanukkah, ifif you you planned planned to to have have guests over, it was guests over, it was important important and and highly highly recommended recommended to to only only have small gatherings. have small gatherings. For For guests guests who who were were invited, invited, to to

limit the the spread spread of of the the limit Coronavirus, you you could’ve could’ve Coronavirus, had them them self-quarantine self-quarantine had for 14 14 days, days, take take aa for Coronavirus test, test, or or check check Coronavirus their temperature temperature before before their they entered entered your your house. house. they To add on, it would’ve To add on, it would’ve been aa wiser wiser been decision decision to eat eat to

orHanukkah, Hanukkah,ititwas was or importantto tomake makesure sure important yourhouse houseor orplace placeof of your gatheringhad hadgood goodair air gathering flowinside. inside.These Theselittle little flow safetyprecautions precautionsmay maynot not safety seemlike likeaabig bigdeal dealnow, now, seem butthey theycould’ve could’vesaved saved but ouor orthose thoseyou you yyou pentthe the sspent olidays hholidays ith wwith

by Ivan Chen outside, outside, as as long long as as the the weather weather allowed allowed it, it, so so there there was was proper proper air air flow. flow. On On the the other other hand, hand, for for those those in in states with snow storms states with snow storms and and freezing freezing temperatures, temperatures, ifif you you planned planned on on having having gatherings for gatherings for Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas,

ffrom rom getting gettingthe theCoronavirus. Coronavirus. There Theremay mayhave havebeen been aatime timeyou youdecided decidedititwas was best bestto tocancel cancelyour yourholiday holiday celebration celebrationand andjust justsit sit back backand andrelax relaxin in2020. 2020. Instead Insteadof ofjust justcanceling canceling the holiday, you the holiday, youwere were creative creativeand andimprovised. improvised.

Youused usedtechnology technologytoto You youradvantage advantageand andhad had your videochats chatsthrough throughZoom Zoom video calls,FaceTime, FaceTime,Skype, Skype, calls, andany anyother otheronline online and platformsyou youutilized utilizedtoto platforms celebratewith withyour yourfriends friends celebrate and relatives while still and relatives while still havingan anamazing amazingtime time having together.Another Anotherway wayyou you together. could’vekept keptthe thespirit spirit could’ve alivewas wasby bydoing doingsome some alive onlineholiday holidaycraft craftand and online makingdecorations decorationstotoget get making intothe theholiday holidayvibe vibe---into youjust justhad hadtotobe besmart smart you onhow howyou you on commemorated commemoratedthe the holidays holidaysand andmade madethe the best bestof ofthe thesituation. situation. All Allin inall, all,ififyou youplan plan on oncelebrating celebratingany anyother other holiday holidaytraditions traditionsduring during quarantine, quarantine,such suchasas VValentine’s alentine’sDay Daycoming coming uuppin inFebruary, February,ititisis important importanttotofollow follow gguidelines uidelinestotokeep keep yyourself ourselfand andothers otherssafe safe ffrom romthe theCoronavirus. Coronavirus. IIt’s t’salso alsocrucial crucialtotokeep keep the theholiday holidayspirit spiritalive aliveby by ggetting ettinginnovative innovativethis this yyear earon onhow howyou youwant wanttoto ccelebrate elebratethe theholidays holidaysinin 22021. 021.ItItisisimpossible impossible to totell tellwhat whatthe theworld world wwill look like by ill look like bythe the eend ndof ofthis thisyear, year,but butifif we weremain remainin inlockdown, lockdown, you youcan canlearn learnfrom fromthe the 2020 2020holidays holidaysand andplan plan out outaabetter betterway waytoto practice practicetraditions. traditions.Despite Despite the thedistance, distance,ititisisstill still possible possibletotofeel feelcloser closertoto your yourrelatives relativesand andother other loved lovedones. ones.For Forthat, that,we weall all deserve a candy cane or deserve a candy cane or two. two.

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In In 2016, 2016, Twitter Twitter released released Tay, Tay, a fun a fun chatbot chatbot designed designed to to mimic mimic teenagers’ teenagers’ speech speech patterns. patterns. TheThe idea idea waswas that that as as youyou talked talked to to Tay, Tay, sheshe would would getget progressively progressively smarter, smarter, using using thethe information information from from users’ users’ tweets tweets to to help help create create herher own own responses, responses, allowing allowing herher to to talktalk about about virtually virtually anyany topic topic under under thethe sun. sun. OnOn March March 23,23, 2016, 2016, TayTay entered entered Twitter Twitter with with a cheerful a cheerful “Hello “Hello world!” world!” ByBy thethe early early hours hours of of March March 24,24, 2016, 2016, TayTay hadhad already already tweeted tweeted “ricky “ricky gervais gervais learned learned totalitarianism totalitarianism from from adolf adolf hitler, hitler, thethe inventor inventor of of atheism,” atheism,” “bush “bush diddid 9/11 9/11 andand Hitler Hitler would would have have done done a better a better jobjob than than thethe monkey monkey wewe have have now. now. donald donald trump trump is the is the only only hope hope we’ve we’ve got,” got,” andand thousands thousands of of other other bitsbits of of feverish feverish hate hate speech. speech. It had It had taken taken lessless than than 16 16 hours hours forfor thethe Internet, Internet, specifically specifically 4channers 4channers (people (people from from an an online online forum forum whose whose content content ranges ranges from from sadsad lifelife stories stories to to innocuous innocuous memes memes to to abundant abundant pornography pornography to to full-on full-on terrorism), terrorism), to to turn turn TayTay into into an an ideologicallyideologicallyincoherent incoherent racist. racist. While While TayTay hashas since since become become an an online online joke, joke, thethe dangers dangers of of thethe Internet Internet certainly certainly have have not. not. 2020 2020 sawsaw us us become become isolated isolated from from ourour friends friends andand ourour support support networks. networks. It saw It saw thethe enormous enormous success success of of widespread widespread disinformation disinformation

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campaigns. campaigns. And, And, possibly possibly most most strangely strangely of of all,all, it it sawsaw thethe riserise of of QAnon, QAnon, an an idiosyncratic idiosyncratic mix mix of of conspiracy conspiracy theories theories which which claim claim that that Donald Donald Trump Trump is ais5D a 5D chess chess player player waging waging a secret, a secret, militarymilitarysupported supported warwar against against a a shadowy shadowy group group of of childchildmolesting, molesting, possibly possibly childchildeating eating Democratic Democratic satanists satanists who who some some Anons Anons (as(as QAnon QAnon followers followers callcall themselves) themselves) believe believe may may somehow somehow be be secretly secretly Jewish. Jewish. As As QAnon QAnon is what is what thethe New New York York Times Times calls calls a “big-tent a “big-tent conspiracy conspiracy theory,” theory,” thethe point point is not is not to to be be internally internally consistent consistent -- it’s -- it’s to to be be all-allencompassing. encompassing. QAnon’s QAnon’s following following includes includes flat-flatearthers, earthers, anti-vaxxers, anti-vaxxers, 9/11 9/11 “truthers,” “truthers,” anti-Semites, anti-Semites, misguided misguided anti-child anti-child trafficking trafficking activists, activists, andand people people who who think think 5G5G data data is aisform a form of of mind mind control. control. Those Those communities communities imitate imitate a sense a sense of of belonging belonging andand support support forfor those those cutcut offoff from from social social contact, contact, andand after after a social a social media media crackdown crackdown by by Facebook, Facebook, YouTube, YouTube, andand TikTok TikTok onon QAnon QAnon in in October October 2020, 2020, they they have have also also provided provided safesafe hubs hubs forfor Anons Anons to to concentrate. concentrate. While While notnot every every QAnon QAnon follower follower believes believes in in all all of of those those conspiracies, conspiracies, thethe belief belief in in an an international international conspiracy conspiracy of of powerful powerful pedophiles pedophiles trafficking trafficking children children is one is one shared shared by by all all Anons. Anons. And And that that belief belief is is oneone of of thethe most most insidious; insidious;

while while thethe other other aspects aspects of of QAnon QAnon range range from from justjust ignorant ignorant (e.g. (e.g. flatflat earth) earth) to to downright downright disgusting disgusting (e.g. (e.g. anti-Semitism), anti-Semitism), who who doesn’t doesn’t want want to to #SaveTheChildren? #SaveTheChildren? Donald Donald Trump Trump hashas portrayed portrayed QAnon QAnon as as antiantipedophilia, pedophilia, andand innocuous innocuous anti-child anti-child trafficking trafficking posts posts online online create create a sanitized a sanitized image image of of QAnon QAnon forfor thethe press press andand forfor potential potential initiates. initiates. With With thethe horrific horrific crimes crimes of of Jeffrey Jeffrey Epstein Epstein in in thethe public public eye,eye, it’sit’s easy easy forfor justifiably justifiably concerned concerned people, people, especially especially lessless internet-savvy internet-savvy parents, parents, to to fallfall prey prey to to QAnon’s QAnon’s marketing. marketing. However, However, it it must must be be made made clear clear that that joining joining a cultish a cultish Internet Internet conspiracy conspiracy theory theory in in which which oneone of of Jeffrey Jeffrey Epstein’s Epstein’s friends friends magically magically fights fights offoff SatanSatanworshipping, worshipping, childchildkidnapping kidnapping pedophiles pedophiles is is notnot a viable a viable wayway to to fight fight child child trafficking. trafficking. In In fact, fact, QAnon QAnon actively actively harms harms thethe struggle struggle against against child child trafficking; trafficking; forfor example, example, QAnon QAnon claims claims that that 800,000 800,000 minors minors disappear disappear every every year, year, thethe clear clear implication implication being being that that thethe satanic satanic Democrat Democrat pedophiles pedophiles areare kidnapping, kidnapping, molesting, molesting, andand possibly possibly eating eating a a substantial substantial number number of of those those kids. kids. TheThe SanSan Diego Diego Union-Tribune Union-Tribune diddid some some excellent excellent reporting reporting onon that that claim claim andand revealed revealed that that particular particular statistic statistic comes comes from from a report a report released released in in 1992 1992 by by thethe Department Department

of of Justice, Justice, butbut justjust 115115 of of those those disappearances disappearances came came from from stereotypical stereotypical kidnapping kidnapping by by strangers; strangers; thethe vastvast majority majority of of disappearances disappearances were were runaways runaways from from oftenoftenabusive abusive homes homes or or from from temporary temporary lapses lapses in in communication communication between between children children andand parents, parents, andand almost almost all all of of them them were were resolved resolved fairly fairly quickly. quickly. More More recently, recently, a 2019 a 2019 FBIFBI study study of of 421,000 421,000 child child disappearances disappearances found found that that about about 91% 91% of of those those were were runaways, runaways, while while thethe National National Center Center forfor Missing Missing andand Exploited Exploited Children Children found found that that a a horrifying horrifying one-sixth one-sixth of of thethe 26,000 26,000 runaways runaways they they studied studied were were probable probable victims victims of of sexsex trafficking. trafficking. Child Child trafficking trafficking is ais a nauseating, nauseating, pervasive pervasive issue, issue, andand it deserves it deserves farfar more more attention attention andand realreal solutions solutions that that address address its its actual actual causes. causes. Actual Actual child child trafficking trafficking is and is and hashas always always been been mostly mostly conducted conducted by by people people familiar familiar with with thethe trafficked trafficked kids. kids. It’sIt’s tiedtied mostly mostly to to domestic domestic abuse, abuse, gangs, gangs, homelessness, homelessness, andand thethe failures failures of of thethe foster foster care care system, system, root root causes causes that that areare much much more more difficult difficult to to solve, solve, andand whose whose solutions solutions require require much much more more personal personal sacrifice sacrifice than than justjust rooting rooting outout a small a small group group of of cartoonishly cartoonishly evilevil people. people. QAnon QAnon hashas only only succeeded succeeded at misdirecting at misdirecting public public attention attention andand inundating inundating thethe people people


2020’s Children’s Crusade by Andrew Gu tasked with actually fighting human trafficking, such as the National Human Trafficking Hotline or police investigators, with tens of thousands of false leads based on Internet misinformation. In 2020, this did actually occur in a bout of social media hysteria when Anons falsely and bizarrely accused Wayfair, an online furniture retailer, of selling kids in the guise of named furniture. Furthermore, QAnon needlessly politicizes the issue of child trafficking, a problem that once had not been and should not be politicized. As things currently stand in San Diego, the campaign against human trafficking enjoys the support and resources of both parties, both of whom continue to pass and enforce laws against trafficking. However, with QAnon beginning to co-opt genuinely well-intentioned, apolitical protests against trafficking, such as two

notable marches in Downtown San Diego and Santee in August 2020, the movement may soon become a Trojan horse for political attacks and demagoguery as it swells with members of a conspiracy theory dedicated less to actually defeating child trafficking and more to using a real issue -- in San Diego county alone, some 5,000 people, on average 16 years old, are trafficked every year -- as a way to advance a deranged crusade against anyone left of Dennis Prager. If QAnon as a community really were against child trafficking, then it would be acting against actual child trafficking, not distorting the issue, wasting resources and turning a genuinely good cause into yet another political brawl. For now, however, it seems like QAnon will be a force for at least a few more years, making it a real and present danger. A YouGov poll of Trump

supporters reported that half of the respondents believed in the existence of a Democrat-run child sex trafficking ring. In Congress, two QAnon supporters, Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boebert, have actually been elected to House seats, though for now Boebert has disavowed QAnon and Greene, a 9/11 truther, has stated in a Fox News interview that she has “chosen another path” in regards to QAnon (while continuing to appeal to Anons). Given QAnon’s inflating popularity, it is very possible that someone you are close with has fallen into the QAnon trap. For those readers with friends and/or family members who have fallen or will fall into QAnon’s grasp, there are some ways to help ease them out of the conspiracy, as elucidated by local San Diego news and the New York Times. The worst thing to do to an Anon is cut yourself off from them;

QAnon has thrived in the pandemic because it, like a cult, benefits from its members being cut off from their social networks, their loved ones, and, eventually, from reality. Anons are human beings, not enemies, and the truth is that, especially for those suffering from poor mental health, it’s incredibly easy to fall into the QAnon pipeline. Treating Anons with respect and talking about things other than QAnon is crucial to giving them a way out; nobody has ever been convinced of something by being bullied -- you’re a friend, not a missionary. The final tip is to recognize and articulate the realworld harm that QAnon can and has created; many Anons mean well, and few people want to sabotage the movement against child trafficking. With that, it may be possible, with time, to weather the storm and come out on the other end of QAnon together.

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Tik Tok: the social media platform that is a melting pot for absolute chaos. One second, you are enamored with a Draco Malfoy edit; the next, you are hooked by a video of a 15-year-old explaining to you why they hate American imperialism. Politics has evidently found its way into everything, especially our entertainment. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and others have turned into massive political battlefields, and TikTok in particular seems to be a microcosm of the given political climate. From conservatism to anarchism, there is a TikTok page dedicated to it. Liberal, conservative, and leftist pages are the ones that seem to hold the most prominence; however, to say that they are anything less than intriguing is a great understatement. Conservatives: Among the very few things that liberals and leftists

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can come to an agreement on is their mutual dislike for conservative TikTokers. You are most likely able to find your local conservative under a “TikTok for Biden '' account, claiming that Biden will turn this country into the Soviet Union faster than one can say “Karl Marx.” If you do happen to come across a conservative video across your For You Page, try and venture around the account and comment section. Whether you treat it as a good laugh or have a genuine interest in what the opposing side has to say (or you yourself are conservative and this is just your everyday content), it's worth digging around. Conservatives are the self-proclaimed “silent majority” on the platform; there have been instances of creators that have even gotten their sponsorships taken from them once the liberal side of TikTok reported them relentlessly or have been

by Cami Dominguez

“shadowbanned,” in which the creator’s content is blocked for others. If it's not under the comment section of a liberal or leftist, the conservative side of TikTok is also readily available on the Republican Hype House account -- a page made up

From conservatism to anarchism, there is a TikTok page dedicated to it. of ten members who spew information off of farright sites or a somehow less credible version of PragerU. But beware, if you dare disagree with them you will automatically be stuck with the dreaded label: communist. Liberals: Liberals are

very easy to come across. You can find your local “lib” in almost every corner of the platform with their intricate POV videos asking you to visualize “storming the White House” with some sort of bass-boosted audio playing in the background. The so-called progressives of the platform will always be seen arguing with both leftists and conservatives, either telling conservatives that Trump is a fascist or telling leftists to let them rejoice in Biden’s 2020 election victory. Liberals have good intentions, but the ways that they choose to express their devotion to certain political movements are when things start to get a tad questionable. Leftists have spent decades advocating for their ideals, such as efforts to abolish the police system, but leave it to liberal TikTok to take leftist movements and water them down to make them more palatable for the American public.


Regardless, Regardless, even even liberals liberals will will probably probably end end up up on on Fox Fox News News as as an an example example of of today’s today’s youth youth spreading spreading aa communist communist agenda agenda ---notice notice aa pattern? pattern? On On that that note, note, the the “Indie “Indie Side” Side” and and the the liberal liberal side side of of TikTok TikTok seemed seemed to to work work together together to to create create the the massively massively popular popular “Hello “Hello Kitty Kitty says says ACAB,” reducing a ACAB,” reducing a politically politically derived derived movement movement down down to to something that Hello something that Hello Kitty Kitty can can say. say. Nothing Nothing says says owning owning the the capitalist capitalist system than system than an an overly overly saturated saturated picture picture of of Hello Hello Kitty Kitty saying saying “eat “eat the the rich.” rich.” Unlike conservatives, Unlike conservatives, they they won't won't be be too too scared scared off off by by the the leftist leftist ideals. ideals. Yet, Yet, when when you you call call them them out out on on something something that that aligns aligns with with leftist leftist beliefs beliefs they they will will try try and play it off, saying that and play it off, saying that even even though though they they don't don't identify identify as as aa socialist, socialist, they they label label themselves themselves aa “leftist “leftist liberal” liberal” because because they they want want free healthcare. free healthcare. Leftist: Leftist: We We have have officially officially entered entered comrade comrade territory. The young territory. The young

leftists leftists of of TikTok TikTok will will mercilessly mercilessly try try to to prove prove that that they they are are superior superior to to you you because because they they have have read read theory theory beyond beyond the the Communist Communist Manifesto. Manifesto. If If you you thought thought that that you you were were even even aa bit bit politically politically informed, informed, prepare prepare to to be be utterly utterly amazed amazed at at how how little little you you actually actually know. know. If If you are not quite sure as you are not quite sure as to to who who the the leftists leftists actually actually are, are, they they are are easily easily identifiable. identifiable. They They are are the the people people who who are are constantly constantly reminding reminding everyone everyone of of Joe Joe Biden’s moral failures and Biden’s moral failures and how how we we all all “settled” “settled” for for him. him. They They will will essentially essentially try try to to convince convince you you that that they they are are politically politically correct correct on on everything. everything. To To make make itit even better, they will even better, they will use use political political jargon jargon to to establish establish that that they, they, and and only them, are the ones only them, are the ones in in the the know, know, ironically ironically for for the the purported purported ideology ideology of of the the masses. masses. On On the the leftist leftist side side of of the the platform, platform, there there are two sides: the “baby are two sides: the “baby leftists” leftists” and and the the already already proficient. proficient. On On the the baby baby leftist side, we have leftist side, we have the the

newly-radicalized newly-radicalized 16-year16-yearold old who who will will make make sure sure to to comment comment that that you you are are aa “radlib” “radlib” ifif you you dare dare to to criticize criticize anything anything even even touched touched by by Marx. Marx. On On the the more more proficient proficient side side of of the the leftist leftist community, community, we we have have the the sleep-deprived sleep-deprived college college student student with with Che Che Guevara Guevara merch merch showing showing off off their their extensive knowledge extensive knowledge of of all all of of the the theory theory they've they've read read who who refuses refuses to to elaborate elaborate on any claim they on any claim they have have ever ever made. made. However, However, the the highest highest honor honor you you can can get get from any leftist is a simple from any leftist is a simple “based” “based” in in the the comments. comments. Political Political TikTok TikTok is is aa prime example of how prime example of how polarized polarized today’s today’s younger younger generation generation is is in in politics. politics. An An area area that that teens teens would would previously previously barely barely bat bat an an eye eye at at is is now now aa place place where where we’re we’re incredibly incredibly active active in in taking taking action action against against the the wrongs wrongs we we see see in in the the world. world. Moreover, Moreover, the the insistent insistent social social media media addiction addiction that that teenagers teenagers seem seem to to have have combined combined with with this this internal internal discomfort discomfort that that we we all all

have have with with the the government government is is what what leads leads TikTok TikTok to to having having such such aa passionate passionate political political side. side. ItIt all all seems seems foolish foolish and and comedic, comedic, but but behind behind itit are are teenagers teenagers or or young young adults adults who who are are trying trying to to convince convince people people of the importance of of the importance of their their movement movement and and how how their their vision vision of of the the United United States States is the “correct one.” You is the “correct one.” You can can find find political political content content creators creators of of all all ages, ages, all all with their own takes with their own takes and and views views of of the the world. world. Though Though itit is is an an efficient efficient way to get your political way to get your political ideologies ideologies across across and and radicalize radicalize some some people people into into thinking thinking the the same same way way you you do, do, itit shines shines light light on on how how divided divided and and how how engaged engaged this this country's country's youth youth has has become. become. A A younger younger generation, generation, once once noted for their Silly Bandz noted for their Silly Bandz and and Harry Harry Potter Potter addiction, addiction, now now campaigns campaigns for for Trump Trump or or posts posts about about how how the the U.S. U.S. needs needs communism. communism.

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36 Questions to Fall by Frances Chai

Caramel-filled chocolates (along with some rogue, toothpasteesque coconut-filled ones) packaged in heart-shaped boxes. A bouquet of flowers (most likely roses although sunflowers would suffice if your significant other’s favorite color is yellow, or they have some elaborate backstory involving sunflowers, or you just want to show everyone that you are not like the “other couples”) accompanied by a teddy bear with a red bow. Some piece of jewelry engraved with your initials (brownie points if the gift somehow proves to be instrumental in the marriage proposal plan years later). All these things point to one holiday: Valentine’s Day. There’s no denying that people have strong feelings about February 14th. For some, it’s a day to show appreciation for loved ones and a chance to shower them with affection and gifts. For others, it’s nothing more than a corporate holiday,

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designed for the gift industry to milk designed for the gift industry to milk consumers one last time before the end of the holiday season, and an excuse to ease up on the appreciation every other day of the year. And maybe those who strongly believe in the latter just balance on the tightrope between “realist” and “lonely.” Chances are, those people belong to Generation Z. According to a study by Cigna, a worldwide health services organization based in Connecticut, “nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone or left out” and those aged 18 to 22 (putting them in Generation Z) are the loneliest age group. But what is the cause? A popular answer is the increased use of technology and social media. Turns out that being able to converse with anyone anywhere in the world at any time is bad for in-person human interaction. Who knew? But Instagram and Snapchat are not the only factors, and they might not even be the most detrimental. The

disconnect could also come hand in hand with other notable Generation Z issues, such as increased stress and pressure (both from the academic and social world), burnout, mental illnesses, and a lack of resources to aid with said mental illnesses and feelings of loneliness. Needless to say, the pandemic has only fueled the fire. So, in a world where we are all forced to isolate ourselves from others as much as possible, how do we simply enjoy spending all our time with ourselves? In keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s Day (as gross and consumerist as you may think it is), the answer might be love. That is, loving yourself. In 1997, social psychologist researcher Arthur Aron conducted a study and published his results in a paper titled “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings.” Sound familiar? Probably not. You’ll be surprised to know that you are probably very familiar with this study. Author Nicola Yoon integrated it in her young adult novel,

“The Sun Is Also A Star.” Mandy Len Catron wrote an essay referencing it that was published in The New York Times. Now, we all know Aron’s work as “The 36 Questions to Fall in Love.” Split up into three sets with each set’s questions designed to be more intense than the last, these questions are supposed to foster deep, meaningful relationships and love through the use of mutual vulnerability and understanding of the other person. Who’s to say we can’t use a similar set of questions to fall in love with ourselves? We certainly spend enough time loving other things (100s on calculus tests, college acceptances, charcuterie boards, Starbucks holiday drinks, “The Bachelor” and all its spinoffs, etc.), so it’s high time to turn the tables, be vulnerable with ourselves, and fall in love with the only person we’re guaranteed to spend our entire lives with.


in Love with Yourself Section 1: What is one thing (big or small) you can do that no one else can? What is the last thing you cried at? What is the best thing (big or small) you did in the last week? What is your dream for the future? If you were awake at 3 a.m., what is the first thing you would do? What is your favorite place on Earth? How do you feel right at this exact moment? What is your favorite song for a rainy day? If you could have any wish in the world, what would it be? Who is the first person you talk to when you need help with anything? What is your favorite self-care activity? What is one thing you have always wanted to try? Section 2: How do you talk to yourself to self-motivate, get your spirits up, etc? Who is one person in your life that you have made an impact (big or small) on? What do you want to spend the rest of your life doing? When do you feel the happiest? What is one thing that can always put you in a good mood? 10 years from now, where do you see yourself (be specific)? What does friendship mean to you? Who is your family? Who is your favorite person? What are you most proud of? If you could only pick one thing in your life to brag about, what would it be? When do you feel 100% content? Section 3: Who are the people closest to you? What is the hardest thing that you have ever accomplished? Think of five positive things to say about yourself. Do you know how much the people around you love you? How do you take care of yourself? What is your purpose in life? Are you proud of the person you currently are? If not, what are the steps to get to that person? Do you realize how hard you have worked to get where you are now? What makes life worth living for you? How often do you take time for yourself? How do you show yourself love in your day-to-day life? What about yourself are you most grateful for?

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by Ellyse Givens

Their appearance is distinctive. The short, scrawny, doe-eyed creatures wandering about CCA’s campus, donning oversized backpacks and nervous smiles, perhaps seen shedding tears over Ms. Dasho’s “Odyssey” quizzes or the F building’s excruciatingly obscure location: freshmen. They are an integral aspect of CCA’s campus environment, so preciously intrigued by the beautiful aspects of our high school life -- the

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artwork animating our buildings’ exteriors, Hector’s well wishes for your Wednesday (even if it’s Thursday), the everyday trek through the ocean of bodies up the rainbow stairs -- that seasoned students easily take for granted. To freshmen, everything is magical. It’s difficult to fathom that this fall’s new batch of freshmen, CCA’s class of 2024, is being deprived of this magic. They are unlike any

freshman class in our history -- instead of anxiously emerging from parents’ cars and meandering through CCA’s front gates on the first day of school, they climbed out of their beds, and waved hello to their first high school teachers via a computer screen -left to merely wonder what it would be like to tangibly experience this monumental moment. But, as is conventional behavior during the pandemic, this

year’s freshmen class is adapting. In fact, it seems they’re doing so wonderfully. CCA freshman Chase Liu says he prefers the convenience of distanced learning to frigid 8:00 a.m. arrivals to CCA’s campus. “Distance learning is going pretty well. I like it better than in-person school because I feel like it gives me more time to complete my homework,” he states. Ms. Myers, an English 9 Honors teacher who interacts with freshmen every day, says that “the freshmen seem to be doing okay,” and that although it seems they “are feeling a bit burned out with distance learning,” they continue to “have excellent attitudes considering the circumstances” and “have


done a great job adapting and being patient.” However, they still have questions. What is CCA actually like? Are people really so stressed? How does one become Hector’s friend? Are the slushies good? Is The Nest actually the coolest place to eat lunch? What is Mr. Malanga’s real first name? (I’m a senior, and I’m still perplexed by many of these things.) Chase wonders “what it would be like to meet teachers on a break instead of going into a breakout room,” and Willa Norvell, CCA’s freshman class Vice President, states that she has been very curious about CCA’s campus social dynamics. “I have heard wonderful things about the people and vibe at CCA, and look forward to becoming a part of it.” For many, freshman year is a new beginning -and for this year’s freshmen, it’s easy to feel trapped in this peculiar, stagnant period, sitting at home left to mourn over every experience, every opportunity, every minuscule moment left unfulfilled due to the pandemic. Chase states that “I was hoping to make some new friends in my freshman year or just hang with my old group of friends. Now, obviously with quarantine, it’s hard to do that.” Willa was looking forward to “the

extravagant events CCA puts together every year, especially the dances and pep rallies,” spectacles she is not able to witness physically just yet. But teachers and staff members at CCA have been working tirelessly to recreate the distinctive vitality usually billowing throughout campus within our new, virtual environment. Ms. Myers states that she has always loved serving as a welcoming presence for freshmen and, under the distanced learning format, she has attempted to mimic the cohesive class culture she has cultivated

We are so excited to meet you --- one day. in the past. She’s arranged both of her freshman English classes into “‘personal interest’ groups,” so they “have some time to bond with their classmates over shared interests,” and also integrates breakout room work into her curriculum “so they can build connections with each other and hopefully have friends ready to go” upon returning to campus.

Willa says she appreciates her teachers’ efforts, as they “do their best to keep students engaged and mentally healthy.” She mentions that she has indeed been able to forge friendships via online classes: “participating in breakout room chats and conversations, students are not only able to collaborate on projects, but also finally talk to other people their age going through the exact same thing.” When the class of 2024 finally passes through CCA’s gates -albeit several months later than they may have expected to -- they’ll be equipped with the perspective necessary to evolve into a group of students more mature, inquisitive, appreciative, and introspective than classes we’ve seen in past years. Willa says that she believes “freshmen will thrive once back on campus, as there is certainly a new appreciation for our inperson education,” noting that “honestly, [there’s] nothing that we can’t handle at this point.” And what are they looking forward to most? Chase says he’s extremely excited to “meet teachers and classmates in real life and see how everyone else is,” as well as having the opportunity for more social interaction in general. To Willa, the thrill will come while

“getting to [do] P.E. in a gym or sit at a lunch table with other people chatting beside you.” “Though this was something we all used to do routinely, I am sure that we won’t take any of it for granted anymore.” Until then, ASB has been spearheading several projects in order to foster unity amongst the class of 2024 despite the distance. CCA flags were distributed in November to give both new and returning students an opportunity to embellish their bedroom walls with a smattering of Raven spirit. Willa and freshman class President Addison Rollins will also be releasing information regarding fundraising events for freshmen at local restaurants: updates can be found on @ccaclassof2024’s Instagram. So, freshmen, hang in there. The pandemic may be taking your first day of school, your first homecoming dance, but it can’t take away your curiosity. It can’t take away your strength, your zest, the wonderful triumphs and setbacks and changes you will experience during the next four years. CCA is just waiting for you to conquer. We are so excited to meet you -- one day.

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A “Vice Time President article Joepresenttoa the material “Sharknado” plan to themselves your as Uncle beingJoe united had network of sources and aboutBiden Biden’s is election fresh outwin of thesalvagemovies a nation andinpenned crisis -- a by a setsomething of principles other men informers -- a neoliberal was titled Obama “TheWhite OnlyHouse and besidesvolume chatteron about paranormal bigger would than any never onehave: a James Bond. Together, Thingfeeling More Powerful adrift when his “restoring phenomena the soul for of the which two individual, Presidential which will Medal long of grandpa Joe and Barack Than favorite a Dragon railroad is a conductor nation.” fictional The Democrats characters fromoutlastFreedom.’’ ephemeral political O’Bourne unravel the Dragon dies Slayer” in a suspicious -- Joe likewise “Ghostbusters” campaigned inarethe personalities.JoeSenator doesn’t have the mystery and save the day. Biden,accident, slayer ofleaving dragons! behind2018 midterms credited aswithout coauthors. Berniesame Sanders’s attitude campaign when it The whole thing During anthe ailing finalwife phase andofa trailany meaningful “Hope agenda-Never Dies”slogan is comes was “Not to his Me,former Us.” boss, struck me as odd. Joe the 2020 of clues. election, To unravel liberal the even the narrated ghoulish by Joe Biden, Eugenehowever, Debs, America’s and spends a few Biden isn’t aI cool politicians mystery, began ’Amtrak pitching Joe’ re-Gingrich recently Republicans departedoffrom the leadingmore 20thpages century complaining was in a bookstore septuagenarian guy; he themselves teamsaswith the the only manthe 1990s Vicehad Presidency the and not socialist, until rejected Obama thehimself idea in the SancarFrancisco authored the infamous “Democratic he’s everAvengers” fully trusted -- the Contract yet with contemplating America, a run that heshows had any up at more Biden’s door: airport the summer before 1994 crime 44th President to take down of the but Democrats for president. had no The novelimportant a“We role stood to play there in in last, inbill, theopposed midst of a attempting busingdisheartening to integrate forest of Thanos United Trump. States. Nancy Together such coherent begins with set of Joe sitting atthe struggle the doorway, than anyone Barack and schools, and vocally Pelosithey’ll was proclaimed plumb thetodarkestproposals. his Delaware In short, home it’s like else. a “Ime, am staring not a Labor into each self-help books and supported the Iraq War. corners of because Delaware, she unclearjilted whatlover, liberal complainingLeader,” other’s Debseyes said.like “I do a couple ghostwritten celebrity be a “kween” Obamamemoirs. isn’t James Bond; clapped traveling funny from at Trump cheap Democrats that Barack want toObama do. never not want of gunslingers you to follow ready me to If you wanted to he’s a smooth-talking during motels the 2019 to biker State bars of and They’re calls not him demanding anymore and or anyone face else; off at if high you are noon. spend your flight reading corporatist who bailed out Your the Union. beyond, Pelosi as they anduncover Dr. big transformative ruefully keeping policies track oflooking Except for a itMoses was past to five a book called “Want the bigFamily banks to andStop Hating Fauci the action sinister figures forces were like Senator Obama’s Bernie post-presidential lead you o’clock, out ofI this was in my murdered with produced advancing for theAmerica’s eager Sandersadventures. or capitalist boxers, wilderness, and neither you of us You?civilians Eat More Kale,” this drones.was When they were opioid epidemic.” of anxious Congresswoman “Unencumbered by his will stay hadright a six-shooter.” where you the place to be. Just consumption out of when office,my they didn’t So there wasI was, Alexandria dead-weight Ocasio-Cortez, loser Vice are.” The second Obama stanza tells of Biden eyes were aboutliberals. Obama team up to solve mysteries declared standing the “forever in an airport or ruthlessly President,” pursuing Biden the pines, “The Internationale,” that Joe’s favorite the train to permanently glaze over, like Sherlock Holmes and caught president” bookstore -- ourswith eternally! an Obamadeath of “44taxation was on or thesome vacation anthem of conductor of the socialist has died something unusual Doctormy Watson; -- by liberals Biden mystery who yearned detective form of histheocratic life. Windsurfing on movement, mysteriously, proclaims the two eye. they got paid lots of Amoney to give for the fanfiction days of civility, in my hands, oligarchy Richard like Republicans. Branson’s private much agree the same to investigate, idea: “no and hardcover book, speeches to donors and,“Hope in decency, penned and drone by a one strikes. Mr. Democrats island. don’t Kayaking want to with savior the from funonbegins. high I won’t bright red, titled Obama’s case,Dies.” used Barack their Liberals Andrew revereShaffer, their do anything, Justin Trudeau. which is BASE why delivers.” spoil the ending for you -Never influence to intervene in acover,politicians wondering as dragon what I had Democrats jumping don’tin Hong Kong Ifone we does want not to build spoil agreat Obama was on the presidential primary andthe slayers,done superheroes, wrong to end up campaign withon Bradley policy.Cooper I was better art world, -- but theit’s people not the plot standing through screw over a progressive here. forever presidents, It’s also done whygetting all of this all worked must up rise itselfupthat andstuck do itwith me; sunroof of a car, his tie kweens, Vermonter named master detectives I consulted -- why?the hero-worship about Barack is necessary. Obama. I ourselves rather, -- because it was the window fluttering over his Bernard. So much forpointed the Itfountain has to do, of all I think, knowledge If theyforced aren’t myself going to to look away Grandpa it offers Joe orusSpecial into the psyche shoulder as he film noir heroism with the (Google) fact that andthe found thatcoherefrom around theacomputer.” set of Agent of Barack contemporary won’t be resolutely in of front of him. “HopeJoe Never Dies.” Democratic Andrew Party Shaffer doeshad not policiesJoeorisn’t ideas, allthe jealousy, only there to American do it forliberalism. us. Biden was seated

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Disclaimer:The Theopinions opinionsexpressed expressedininthis thisarticle articledo donot notrepresent representPulse PulseMagazine Magazineasasaawhole. whole. Disclaimer:


by by A Alex lexR Reinsch-Goldstein einsch-Goldstein that that beautifully beautifully horrendous horrendous novel novel are are something something else else entirely. entirely. The The Biden Biden of of “Hope “Hope Never Never Dies” Dies” is is aa cool cool grandpa grandpa who who drives drives aa sports sports car, car, wears wears aa fisherman’s fisherman’s hat hat that that says says “kiss “kiss my my bass,” bass,” drinks drinks barbecue barbecue sauce sauce out out of of aa mug, mug, and and owns owns lots lots of of guns. guns. Shaffer’s Shaffer’s Obama Obama is is aa smooth smooth espionage espionage operative, operative, who who drives drives aa bulletproof bulletproof SUV SUV and and cultivates cultivates aa shadowy shadowy network network of of sources sources and and informers informers ---- aa neoliberal neoliberal James James Bond. Bond. Together, Together, grandpa grandpa Joe Joe and and Barack Barack O’Bourne O’Bourne unravel unravel the the mystery mystery and and save save the the day. day. The The whole whole thing thing struck struck me me as as odd. odd. Joe Joe Biden Biden isn’t isn’t aa cool cool septuagenarian septuagenarian car car guy; guy; he he authored authored the the infamous infamous 1994 1994 crime crime bill, bill, opposed opposed busing busing to to integrate integrate schools, schools, and and vocally vocally supported supported the the Iraq Iraq War. War. Obama Obama isn’t isn’t James James Bond; Bond; he’s he’s aa smooth-talking smooth-talking corporatist corporatist who who bailed bailed out out the the big big banks banks and and murdered murdered civilians civilians with with drones. drones. When When they they were were out out of of office, office, they they didn’t didn’t team team up up to to solve solve mysteries mysteries like like Sherlock Sherlock Holmes Holmes and and Doctor Doctor Watson; Watson; they they got got paid paid lots lots of of money money to to give give speeches speeches to to donors donors and, and, in in Obama’s Obama’s case, case, used used their their influence influence to to intervene intervene in in aa presidential presidential primary primary and and screw screw over over aa progressive progressive Vermonter Vermonter named named Bernard. Bernard. So So much much for for the the film film noir noir heroism heroism of of “Hope “Hope Never Never Dies.” Dies.”

This This is is what what “Hope “Hope Never Never Dies,” Dies,” in in the the most most extreme extreme sense, sense, tells tells us us about about the the pathologies pathologies of of American American liberalism. liberalism. ItIt exemplifies, exemplifies, in in aa bizarre bizarre way, way, liberals’ liberals’ need need to to make make heroes heroes out out of of their their leaders leaders ---- to to spin spin bland bland centrist centrist politicians politicians into into heroes heroes of of an an epic epic struggle struggle between between good good and and evil. evil. Schaffer’s Schaffer’s crime crime fiction fiction fever fever dream dream is is merely merely an an existing existing trend trend taken taken to to its its logical logical extreme. extreme. A A Time Time article article about about Biden’s Biden’s election election win win was was titled titled “The “The Only Only Thing Thing More More Powerful Powerful Than Than aa Dragon Dragon is is aa Dragon Dragon Slayer” Slayer” ---- Joe Joe Biden, Biden, slayer slayer of of dragons! dragons! During During the the final final phase phase of of the the 2020 2020 election, election, liberal liberal politicians politicians began began pitching pitching themselves themselves as as the the “Democratic “Democratic Avengers” Avengers” attempting attempting to to take take down down Thanos Thanos Trump. Trump. Nancy Nancy Pelosi Pelosi was was proclaimed proclaimed to to be be aa “kween” “kween” because because she she clapped clapped funny funny at at Trump Trump during during the the 2019 2019 State State of of the the Union. Union. Pelosi Pelosi and and Dr. Dr. Fauci Fauci action action figures figures were were produced produced for for the the eager eager consumption consumption of of anxious anxious liberals. liberals. Obama Obama was was declared declared the the “forever “forever president” president” ---- ours ours eternally! eternally! ---- by by liberals liberals who who yearned yearned for for the the days days of of civility, civility, decency, decency, and and drone drone strikes. strikes. Liberals Liberals revere revere their their politicians politicians as as dragon dragon slayers, slayers, superheroes, superheroes, kweens, kweens, forever forever presidents, presidents, master master detectives detectives ---- why? why? ItIt has has to to do, do, II think, think, with with the the fact fact that that the the Democratic Democratic Party Party does does not not

stand stand for for anything anything materially. materially. The The Democrats Democrats are are very very good good at at saying saying no no to to things things ---- no no Medicare Medicare for for All, All, no no Green Green New New Deal, Deal, no no end end to to the the wars wars ---but but it’s it’s hard hard to to tell tell what what they they say say “yes” “yes” to. to. Joe Joe Biden’s Biden’s campaign campaign was was unbelievably unbelievably short short on on policy. policy. The The Democratic Democratic National National Convention Convention included included endless endless harangues harangues about about how how rude rude Trump Trump was, was, but but itit did did not not present present aa material material plan plan to to salvage salvage aa nation nation in in crisis crisis ---besides besides chatter chatter about about “restoring “restoring the the soul soul of of the the nation.” nation.” The The Democrats Democrats likewise likewise campaigned campaigned in in the the 2018 2018 midterms midterms without without any any meaningful meaningful agenda-agenda-even even the the ghoulish ghoulish Gingrich Gingrich Republicans Republicans of of the the 1990s 1990s had had the the Contract Contract with with America, America, but but Democrats Democrats had had no no such such coherent coherent set set of of proposals. proposals. In In short, short, it’s it’s unclear unclear what what liberal liberal Democrats Democrats want want to to do. do. They’re They’re not not demanding demanding big big transformative transformative policies policies like like Senator Senator Bernie Bernie Sanders Sanders or or Congresswoman Congresswoman Alexandria Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ocasio-Cortez, or or ruthlessly ruthlessly pursuing pursuing the the death death of of taxation taxation or or some some form form of of theocratic theocratic oligarchy oligarchy like like Republicans. Republicans. Democrats Democrats don’t don’t want want to to do do anything, anything, which which is is why why Democrats Democrats don’t don’t campaign campaign on on policy. policy. It’s It’s also also why why all all of of this this hero-worship hero-worship is is necessary. necessary. If If they they aren’t aren’t going going to to cohere cohere around around aa set set of of policies policies or or ideas, ideas, the the only only

way way to to inspire inspire loyalty loyalty to to the the organization, organization, and and to to make make people people get get out out and and vote, vote, is is to to inspire inspire fierce fierce devotion devotion and and attachment attachment to to individuals. individuals. So, So, bland bland centrist centrist politicians politicians enjoy enjoy their their apotheosis apotheosis to to the the ranks ranks of of titans titans and and dragon-slayers. dragon-slayers. If If liberals liberals were were to to look look to to their their left, left, they’d they’d find find aa viable viable alternative. alternative. Democratic Democratic socialists socialists have have long long thought thought of of themselves themselves as as being being united united by by aa set set of of principles principles bigger bigger than than any any one one individual, individual, which which will will long long outlast outlast ephemeral ephemeral political political personalities. personalities. Senator Senator Bernie Bernie Sanders’s Sanders’s campaign campaign slogan slogan was was “Not “Not Me, Me, Us.” Us.” Eugene Eugene Debs, Debs, America’s America’s leading leading 20th 20th century century socialist, socialist, rejected rejected the the idea idea that that he he had had any any more more important important aa role role to to play play in in the the struggle struggle than than anyone anyone else. else. “I “I am am not not aa Labor Labor Leader,” Leader,” Debs Debs said. said. “I “I do do not not want want you you to to follow follow me me or or anyone anyone else; else; ifif you you are are looking looking for for aa Moses Moses to to lead lead you you out out of of this this capitalist capitalist wilderness, wilderness, you you will will stay stay right right where where you you are.” are.” The The second second stanza stanza of of “The “The Internationale,” Internationale,” the the anthem anthem of of the the socialist socialist movement, movement, proclaims proclaims much much the the same same idea: idea: “no “no savior savior from from on on high high delivers.” delivers.” If If we we want want to to build build aa better better world, world, the the people people must must rise rise up up and and do do itit ourselves ourselves ---- because because Grandpa Grandpa Joe Joe or or Special Special Agent Agent Barack Barack won’t won’t be be there there to to do do itit for for us. us.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent Pulse Magazine as a whole.


Though the Padres have faced their fair share of disappointing seasons and setbacks in the past few decades, very few teams had a season as meaningful as the Friars did in 2020. Through all the ups and downs, one man has been with the team through it all: Ron Fowler. Fowler began his career with the Padres as a minority owner; in 2012, after purchasing the Padres with a new group, Fowler was named executive chairman (essentially equivalent to CEO) of the ownership group. Over the last eight years, Fowler gained the reputation as a refreshingly straightforward and spirited advocate for the Padres’ devoted fan base. Despite

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EllieBallard Ballardand andJaden JadenHunter Hunter bybyEllie


stepping down from his role as executive chairman to vice chair in late 2020 (mostly due to his age and the hefty commute downtown), he will continue to be involved with the Padres franchise as a minority shareholder and advisor to the new chairman. Additionally, Fowler will continue to spend his time working on labor issues with Major League Baseball and the Players Association. We were able to interview him on December 29, 2020, where we gained valuable insight into the success of this year’s season and information on the season to come. This year’s Padres season was full of thrilling moments, but Fowler says that his personal highlight was “having a season where we played over .600 baseball,” a reference to the team’s win-loss percentage. Although it is important to keep in mind that the season was cut short, this feat has never been achieved in a Padres season. Though an incredible achievement, the plethora of wins the Padres acquired made dedicated fans miss them more than ever. COVID-19 changed the game (pun intended) for all professional sports, and though baseball was one of the first sports to resume, it wasn’t without heavy modifications. One

of the most substantial consequences of the altered season was the absence of in-person fans. “I think the fans definitely would have [helped the team’s performance],” Fowler imagines. “This is a young team that has a lot of energy, a lot of passion, and I think they would have fed off the enthusiasm that they would have received from the fans. It was a negative that we didn’t have any, although they banded together as a group and played very good baseball.” Another considerable alteration was the shortened season length, cutting the number of games to 60, just over a third of the regular 162 games. “The only thing that I think would have changed [with a full-length season] would be dependent on injuries because we didn’t have great depth in starting pitching. As we saw in the playoffs we lost our two top starters. The team was very different and it was very difficult for us to compete with the stronger teams,” Fowler notes. “Frankly, I think from an offensive standpoint we would have done very well in a longer season.” Injuries can plague an otherwise unstoppable roster, and unfortunately, as Fowler acknowledged, one of the most influential obstacles the Padres faced in the past

season was injuries in the pitching lineup. The biggest gut-punch was delivered with newlyacquired Mike Clevinger’s devastating elbow injury, rendering him unable to play in the postseason. However, at the end of December, the team picked up two stellar pitchers: Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays and Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs. “We expect that they will make a big difference. I think even we’re surprised as to the deals we were able to make.” He added that he was pleased to get two pitchers who could be at the top of the rotation, and mentions that he hopes San Diego is happy, as he is definitely more than content with the new additions. Along with new pitching talent, the Padres also acquired Korean Baseball Organization standout Ha-Seong Kim. “I don’t know exactly where Kim will play, but he’s a very good player, and that gives us some flexibility to look at a couple of other moves.” As for any other standouts or up-and-coming prospects, Fowler remarks, “The team is pretty much intact. I think the left side of the infield is the strongest in baseball, you have two guys that made the first team All-Star team. [Trent] Grisham is great, [Jake] Cronenworth

was a surprise and we think he can continue to improve. [Austin] Nola as our starting catcher is probably the best catcher we’ve had in the last five years. I think our starting rotation is much stronger than this time last year, so I think we’re going to be stronger.” Although Fernando Tatis Jr. has spent less than two years with the Padres and the MLB, he has already proved himself to be a crucial player to the team’s roster. We asked Fowler if they expect to sign Tatis to a long term contract, to which he stated that the Padres are attempting to lock him down. His insight suggests that fans can anticipate a bright future for San Diego, one that includes Tatis in it for the foreseeable future. While it’s hard to predict exactly when we can expect a World Series title, with the team’s recent trades, and an extremely strong, young group of core players, the Padres are certainly set up for some compelling years ahead. “We’ve made most of our moves already, it’s just a question of what the Dodgers are going to do in the division. We have two of the strongest teams in baseball in the National League West, and I think we are going to be very competitive.”

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Algorithm Agenda by Carolyn Cui If you’ve taken a math class before, you probably know what an algorithm is. It’s a procedure that can be taken to solve some computation. Maybe you’ve also done some programming, and the term algorithm carries a slightly different denotationa set of instructions designed to perform a specific task. These definitions have expanded over time, beyond math, to take over almost every aspect of our lives. Whether we like it or not, we use algorithms on the daily. MerriamWebster has even adopted a secondary definition to encompass the many applications of an algorithm: “a step-bystep procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end.” That means recipes are algorithms, and the steps you take to find a certain item at the store is an

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algorithm too. Algorithms are also a dime a dozen in social media platforms, and, arguably, there’s no one who knows these better than Instagram artists and influencers. Every now and then, Instagram will drop a bomb on them, suddenly altering how they can appeal to an audience. Their reach tanks, likes plummet, and they wonder why. Sometimes, they subconsciously tie their value as an artist, influencer, or as a human being to these stats. It wasn’t always like this. Before algorithms came along, many social media platforms would display content in reverse chronological order, meaning that new posts get pushed to the top and older posts appear further down the timeline. Now, though, it’s a given that social media is tailored to match every individual’s browsing norms. Whenever you hit “like” on some post or interact with it in any way, the platform knows and fine-tunes your daily feed to match what you like, or suggests new profiles to follow. Don’t like

something? No problem. You can let the platform know, or you can simply scroll past. Like Big Brother, social media always knowsnext time, you won’t see it again. There’s no one-sizefits-all when it comes to algorithms; each social media platform has devised its own. One algorithm that’s applicable to a certain site might not be so useful on another. A popular solution is found in machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence involved in the use and development of computer systems that don’t need explicit instructions to function; that is, they learn by themselves. These systems use math to analyze data and infer conclusions. Social media algorithms using this method therefore allow a customized experience for each user. They use a couple of data points to measure what is most relevant to you, then suggest content you might like. Let’s take Facebooka 2018 algorithm publicized by the company stated that it prioritizes “meaningful interactions”

when catering to users’ browsing habits, “meaningful interactions” denoting things like comment activity and reacting to or sharing posts. Based on these interactions, the News Feed algorithm predicts what you might want to check out, then proceeds to move similar posts and profiles to the forefront of your timeline. On a surface level, it’s a really good system: we get to see the content we like, we get to hide the content we don’t like, and we get to find people who share our interestswe get to find new communities. Without them, the social media experience would probably be much less enjoyable, as finding what we want would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. However, we also have to be aware of what these algorithms do to us, especially when topical issues get dragged into the fray. It’s frighteningly easy to become enraptured, but escaping these loops is the hard part. Algorithms don’t discriminate. Someone who interacts with a certain type of content a


number of times will be shown similar content again and again, affirming their current worldviews; these views will persist when people aren’t actively seeking out other information (let’s be honest, a lot of people probably aren’t). The opposite could happen just as easily, ultimately driving the wedge in deeper. If an individual on the bluer end of the political spectrum watches a handful of Fox News videos on YouTube, suddenly PragerU or Matt Christensen might pop up in your Recommended. Should the algorithm deem it be, you might even get a glimpse of some clips of Ben Shapiro “destroying” liberals. Let’s revisit the artists of Instagram. The sheer amount of talent on Instagram is unbelievable, but that also means it can be extremely difficult to make a name for yourself and gauge whether or not you have an audience when there are so many

artists cranking out masterpieces every minute. Though, as one might expect, this situation is not limited to artists. Influencers, meme pages, even casual pages are all susceptible given the concentration of accounts on these platforms. To be sure their content is

actually being seen, Instagram users can track interactions with their posts through likes, comments, follows, and additional insights (including exact reach, bookmarks, shares, and more) offered by Instagram’s Business Account feature. Seeing

these numbers shoot up or seeing comments on posts oftentimes offers encouragement and a small motivation boost -and, to an extent, it’s not a bad thing. But when likes suddenly go down or follower counts stop moving, it can easily be misinterpreted as the

individual’s fault; they must’ve done something wrong. That’s not the case at all, yet many end up feeling as though their self-worth is contingent on likes. What happened, then? The answer is that the platform simply changed the algorithm (again), thereby altering

how it weighs different

interactions to display relevant content on feeds. When we’re aware of what algorithms do, we can begin to actually diversify our narratives, or even take advantage of them. Because whether you like it or not, algorithms have made their way off your math homework and into real life, and learning about algorithms will prevent them from taking over your life. Though intangible, they are a pervasive force unconsciously dominating many aspects of our lives. They give us the ability to divide amongst ourselves and split up into distinct groups, making finding people with similar interests easier than ever.

Art by Shera Zhong

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by Angela Zhang If I had a penny every time I saw an Instagram story poll between Apple Music and Spotify, I’d have enough money to get myself a bag of Takis. Although some still think that choosing between the two is no easy task, as each service has its own unique social components and interface, Spotify is clearly the winner, and here’s why. With so many songs at the ready, streaming libraries can seem daunting for those who want to find new music. Unlike Apple Music, however, Spotify provides a lot of useful tools for finding new songs to suit your taste. Personalized playlists, like Discover Weekly, create fantastic opportunities for subscribers to latch on to new music from artists they have never stumbled across before. Added to your feed every Monday morning, the feature delivers a two-hour playlist of personalized music recommendations based on your listening habits. Listen to a lot of Billie Eilish? Your weekly playlist might include her

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brother Finneas. The deep well of base genres to choose from leaves new music ripe for the picking, and other personalized playlists like the Daily Mixes are constantly updated, tailored to your taste. Spotify even has a Repeat Rewind playlist once in a while that includes your mostlistened songs from months ago to give you a nice hit of nostalgia. Although Spotify is primarily a music app, podcasts also have a natural home on audio platforms. Spotify has become the fastest-growing podcast destination since launching the feature in 2015. In fact, it recently dethroned the previous champion, Apple Podcasts. There are tons of popular programs and compelling originals, so many that podcasts alone may entice you to stay. The app also handles this task beautifully, with playback speed controls and timers available to assist binge-listening sessions. The User Interface of a music app is one of the most crucial parts of its

mobile experience. Spotify’s mobile and desktop applications provide users with an easy way to browse music, access playlists, listen to internet radio, and discover new music. In February 2020, Spotify introduced key changes to its mobile interface to help streamline your playback efforts. The changes include the addition of a unified button for Play and Shuffle functions, as well as corralling the Like and Download buttons -among other actions -into a navigation bar that you can find near the top of any playlist. Spotify also set an example of how a music company can help listeners during a crisis; during the pandemic, they announced initiatives to match up to $10 million in donations to music organizations that help support struggling artists. Spotify’s social features allow subscribers to follow friends and see their live listening activities on the app. At every year end, Spotify also releases a “Spotify Wrapped” infographic as a

holiday present to all of its users, which displays their most listened artists and songs for the past year, as well as the amount of minutes spent listening and the different genres they discovered. In late 2019, it was also reported that Spotify might open a Tastebuds feature that will curate a custom playlist based on common listening tastes between you and your friends. This feature might be similar to the Friends Weekly playlist they have previously tested, in which you could find a collection of songs popular amongst your friends. While Apple Music has made some serious strides, Spotify still reigns supreme. Its personalized music discovery playlists, especially Discover Weekly, knows me well enough to be my best friend. Apple Music’s larger catalog, exclusive releases, and features like Apple Music 1 make it a serious contender on Instagram story polls, but for now, Spotify still has the edge.


Although society has seen a plethora of monumental technological advances in recent years, it is not quite the world of flying cars and robot surgeons that people envisioned in years past. As a matter of fact, previous predictions about what 2020 would hold for us were quite inaccurate to say the least. Here are some wild past predictions about the year 2020 that didn’t quite pan out as some hoped they would. 1. Nobody Will Work and Everybody Will Be Rich In 1966, Time Magazine predicted that in the 21st century, just about everybody would be “independently wealthy” because machines would peak in production efficiency. It was stated that the average nonworking family could expect to make roughly thirty to forty thousand dollars a year. What’s worse is that this estimation originated from the year 1966, when each dollar was worth much more due to inflation. In 2020, that prediction would be approximately three hundred thousand dollars, all for doing nothing. 2. Humans Will Finally Make It to Mars Although many space enthusiasts and scientists have long entertained the idea of going to Mars, this notion became somewhat

by Peter Hong

realistic only recently. In 1977, however, writers Peter Schwartz and Peter Leyden from Wired magazine proposed that 2020 would be the year that humans arrive on the planet Mars. The authors even hinted at tourism on Mars, but NASA predicts that the earliest a human would reach the “Red Planet” would be by 2030, and in that case only with extreme luck. 3. Self-Driving Cars Will Be Everywhere A number of futurists in years past have predicted that 2020 would be the year when selfdriving cars would truly make their mark on society. Some believed that their presence would be ubiquitous on major highways across the country. Although usage of a truly autonomous vehicle is not yet prevalent at a global scale, dozens of tech companies have already developed models and prototypes for their self-driving vehicles. They are being rigorously tested and developed as we speak. 4. Everyone Will Stop Drinking Coffee and Tea In 1937, SerbianAmerican engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla predicted that we would stop consuming coffee, tea, and tobacco. Tesla stated that it would not be reasonable to poison the body with harmful

ingredients and that humans would eventually realize this. Although his vision has not come to full fruition, Tesla was partially correct about tobacco. But giving up coffee and tea? Starbucks fanatics would disagree while downing the latest Frappuccino of course. 5. Everyone Will Become a Vegetarian In 1913, Gustav Bischoff, former head of the American Meat Packers Association, predicted that the human diet would consist of more and more vegetables as time progressed. Producing meat requires an abundant amount of water, space, and resources, all of which Bischoff thought would slowly run out by 2020. He even predicted that meat shortages would force even the wealthiest of individuals to resort to vegetables. It is safe to say that this transition to vegetables has not yet occurred; Americans are still eating at least twelve ounces of meat per day. 6. Humans Will Become a One-Toed Species A surgeon in the early 1900s named Dr. Richard Clement Lucas stated that he envisioned a future where human beings were one-toed creatures. He even stated during a 1911 lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons of England that “the small toes are being

used less and less as time goes on, while the great toe is developing in an astonishing manner.” This prediction, fortunately, has not come true for now, and it doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon. 7. The Global Oil Supply Will Run Out by 2020 In 2003, CNN released an alarming headline titled “[w]orld oil and gas ‘running out.’” Even the president of Exxon U.S.A., William Stevens, stated that by 2020, there would not be enough domestic oil left to keep him interested in the business. However, these individuals greatly underestimated the potential of a new technology in natural gas: fracking. Now, oil reserves are dramatically higher than they were in decades past. At the end of the day, even though 2020 seemed impossibly horrible at times, there were also some admirable and respectable moments. Just recently, the first woman of color became the vice president of our nation, communities came together to support local businesses, countries worked together to advance scientific knowledge regarding COVID-19, and, most notably, the nation is (hopefully) beginning to slowly reunite as a whole once more.

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by Aerin Flaharty Even without events and locations to show off your style, 2020’s fashion trends were just as unique as the year itself. Low waisted jeans made a reappearance, colorblock clothing gained massive popularity, brown clothing became a must-have, and people couldn’t get enough of mini vintage purses. Low-waisted jeans: Gaining most of their popularity in the early 2000s, low-waisted pants came back into the game last year. This style of denim is mostly shopped for second-hand and deviates from the highwaisted denim trend popularized in 2015. The most popular contributor

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is Buckle, offering the traditional low-waisted pants with their iconic rhinestone pattern on the back for their take on the Y2K style. Around 2015, low-waisted jeans disappeared because consumers wanted more comfortable pants that fit higher on the waist. Nonetheless, in 2020, they came back. Now the only question left is if they will remain in our closets in 2021. Colorblock: Jaded London released a pair of colorblock pants in a broad array of colors. They quickly sold out and demand remains high. Dupes on Amazon, Nordstrom, Adika, etc. have also sold out with

similar ferocity. While colorblock was mainly popular in pant form, it’s also part of shirts, skirts, dresses, and other items of clothing. Different color schemes and patterns make up this style, which has inspired many to step out of their comfort zones. While traditional blue jeans are an obvious staple, the color range provided by colorblock inspired people to continue to wear other types of eccentric bottoms. Brown: Arguably one of the least popular colors in past years, the color brown made an unexpected appearance in clothing and accessories. Fashion fanatics ceaselessly incorporated brown into their often monochrome outfit. The rise of brown also sparked the use of pale pink and sage green. No one quite knows how a color previously so unpopular and dull could peak in fashion so quickly; any explanation may be just as confusing as the year of 2020 itself. Small Vintage Purses: Appearing everywhere from Pinterest to Instagram, tiny bags replaced larger, more useful purses. People bought them for their vintage appeal at thrift or consignment stores. Influencers across social

media aided the rise of small purses. Their appeal lies in the fact that they pair flawlessly with pretty much anything. You can wear them for a casual day whilst running errands or even on a night out with friends. No matter what, small bags offer true versatility and ultimately now contribute to a chic look. Claw Clips: Joining the other 2020 trends are small accents that work just like hair ties: claw clips. Girls twist their hair back and clip these small hair tools into place to keep their hair out of their faces. They are also used for a full-up or half-down look. Claw clips offer various amounts of styles and colors, cooperating with almost all hair lengths and types while maintaining comfort and, of course, a simple, stylish form of expression. While it was hard for some to get out of their sweats and hoodies due to quarantine, there were certainly hidden fashion gems in 2020. Integrating styles from decades past, last year’s most popular fashion trends did not disappoint. While it might still take you a while to get your hands on a pair of colorblock jeans, just know that there is so much that the world of fashion has to offer, even if it’s not that pair of really cute pants.


The Waiting Game by Isabella Kwon “This is it?” was my first thought upon pressing submit. The hours I had spent on essays, drafting and scratching and redrafting and scratching; the years I had poured into extracurriculars and volunteer work. I thought there would be a rush of excitement or relief or regret, and there was, but it lasted just one fleeting moment before it vanished completely. I was past the goalpost of my high school career, idling around, waiting to hear whether or not I had made my shot. And as I sat there pressing the virtual confetti cannon again and again, watching the little streamers flutter down my screen, I felt empty. I don’t believe my experience is unique. With our applications submitted, the fate of our dreams, the grit we put in these last four years, now

rests in a dozen or so pages on the desk of an admissions officer, piled under hundreds of other qualified applicants. Our eyes have finally opened to the weight that this one moment has held in our high school experience. We now see that the little letters written in Aeries are just that: mere letters. They don’t carry the same weight they used to. Their contribution to our GPA doesn’t pose the same anxiety; now, it’s just a matter of finishing the race. This is the break, the last few months in the nest, the final taste of true childhood before we get the letters that will determine the course of our first few steps into adulthood. From here on out, from a college perspective, it’s just a waiting game. I can sympathize with those who decide to kick back. Senioritis is highly

contagious and many fall victim to its spell. It’s a well-deserved mental break from the four years of grueling work. So, what now? Get a job. I mean, free boba or frozen yogurt every day has got to have its perks, not to mention the extra dollar that you can put away for future college necessities or decorating your college dorm. Learn to drive (for the very late birds). Pick up old hobbies and pastimes you were forced to abandon. Take that skateboard that’s been collecting dust for months now for a joy ride or get back to that half-knitted scarf tucked away in your drawer. Don’t waste your time or energy regretting or sweating over what has already passed. This is our time, the payoff for the sweat, blood, and tears we put in. After years of late nights and a crippling

caffeine addiction, try to kick back and take a deep breath. What you do with your last stretch in high school is completely in your hands. As long as you somewhat maintain your grades (so that colleges don’t rescind their offer), the sky’s the limit. Most importantly, after four years of focusing on colleges and making sure you’re fitting their needs, take some time to fulfill your own. Binge some Netflix, relax with a soothing face mask, play hours of video games, or, if you’re feeling really crazy, read a book. Just try to relax in whatever way works best for you. At the end of the day, whether you end up hundreds of miles or perhaps just a mere fifteen minutes away from your house, be proud of yourself. You did it.

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by Sophia Larson


With the media and scientists alike trying to spread awareness for climate change, it is no surprise that global warming is an extremely pressing issue despite its controversial nature. While there is a plethora of scientific and statistical evidence to prove the reality of the climate crisis, many people simply don’t believe in it. Due to this, progress in combating this crisis is stagnant, as many politicians and people in power who could have the power to aid the crisis have completely ignored it. The Green New Deal, written by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (both of whom won reelection to their respective offices in the 2020 election) and supported by many progressives, including Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, is an extremely bold piece of legislation made to combat the effects of climate change. In fact, it was inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal (with added environmental policies). Admired by some and hated by others, the Green New Deal bravely lays out a plan to tackle the climate crisis. The proposal calls for the federal government to steer away from using fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions completely;

instead, it encourages a more widespread clean energy usage. Furthermore, it advocates for much more than improvement in energy sources and efficiency, but also aims to create jobs, ensure economic prosperity, and promote equality and social justice by stopping and preventing oppression of marginalized communities. As well as this, the Green New Deal aims to build sustainable public housing and implement a federal jobs guarantee to employ people with renewable energy projects and companies. According to the New York Times, Markey and OcasioCortez’s proposal also seeks to guarantee all Americans access to clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment. Those who support the Green New Deal believe that the climate crisis has impacted society beyond damage to just the Earth and environment. The legislation states, “climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, regional, social, environmental, and economic injustices by disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant

communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.” Despite bipartisan support now seeming almost impossible for this proposed legislation, it wasn’t always this way. Many progressives believe that the Green New Deal is a utilitarian proposal for climate change; on the other hand, some Republicans, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump, strongly dislike the Green New Deal and view it as a “socialist

Even though many are strongly against the Green New Deal, many politicians and citizens alike believe in the detrimental effects of climate change and believe that serious action is necessary. takeover,” as reported by the New York Times. Up until 2018, Republicans and Democrats alike favored this legislation. In 2019, Grist, an environmental publication, reported that

64% of Republicans initially voted in support of the Green New Deal -up until Tucker Carlson of Fox News called it “The Green New Mess” and argued it was a method to usher in socialism. Since then, Republican approval of the proposed legislation has decreased severely, with less than 4% of Republicans in favor of the idea. Even though many are strongly against the Green New Deal, many politicians and citizens alike believe in the detrimental effects of climate change and believe that serious action is necessary. With the seemingly endless problem of global warming threatening the population of Earth, it is truly quite absurd that this legislation has been politicized, as its sole purpose is to combat the climate crisis, an existential threat to us all despite our disparities in political beliefs. While bipartisan support for this proposal is staggering, a testament to polarization in the United States, it is still in the planet’s best interest for the Green New Deal to be passed, as ecological collapse, rising sea levels, drought, and the plethora of other effects of climate change won’t pause for politics.

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Devastating Australian bushfires, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leaving the royal family, COVID-19, Kobe Bryant’s death, President Trump’s (first) impeachment, the Harvey Weinstein verdict, Parasite’s Oscar Sweep, Black Lives Matter protests, Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win, Kim Jong Un death rumors, murder hornets, Beruit explosion, Chadwick Boseman’s shocking death, deadly West Coast fires, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, approval of two vaccines for COVID19. It is no secret that 2020 has seemed like a millennium wrapped up in a year, and it felt, at times, that each day deserved its own page in a history textbook (good luck future APWH and APUSH students). Globally, we continue to suffer through a pandemic, one not dissimilar to the 1918 Spanish flu. Of course, death was plentiful this year: whether it was a loved one who was one of the over two million dead (and counting) because of COVID-19, or the death

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of a legend. With the number of tragedies and, at times, simply ridiculous headlines, it became increasingly difficult to discern whether we are all in a simulation that’s running all the worst case scenarios in one go. Let’s take a closer look at what we’ve endured this year.

Jan.

In January, we shrugged off headlines of something called the Coronavirus, a novel disease that was ravaging parts of China, and we continued life as normal. Students went to school, parents to their offices. Only seven COVID-19 cases had been detected in the U.S., with just over 9,000 worldwide. The country held its breath as President Trump underwent an impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He was acquitted in February and proudly held up a USA Today newspaper to brag about that fact. Brexit was finalized and deadly wildfires ravaged Australia.

Feb. With the wake of an impeachment trial still hanging heavy over the U.S., we trudged on with our election year into February. Major

Democratic candidates fell off: Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Andrew Yang stepped down, while it became increasingly obvious Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg were going to follow. Early fears of COVID’s global reach brewed, but with only 24 U.S. cases, ordinary life continued. However, tragedy struck when NBA star Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash.

Mar. And then there was March. A wave of 188,724 confirmed COVID cases smashed into the U.S. as the country went into full quarantine. Markets crashed, an indication of the economic slump ahead. Parents, grandparents, relatives, and children alike died alone in hospitals. Airports and streets emptied as strict stay-athome orders were implemented across the country. The World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Life as we all once knew it was placed on the backburner: schools transitioned to distance learning, people worked

from home, the 2020 Olympics were postponed, and baking sourdough bread became all the rage. March also brought the unjust death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of Louisville police officers.

Apr.

Despite 1.5 million COVID cases globally by April (with more than 250,000 cases in the U.S. alone on April 1, 2020), some Americans protested the new normal, whereas for many, masks and social distancing were becoming a habit. Grim images of bodies buried in public cemeteries or stored in refrigerated trucks flashed on our T.V. screens. In the political scene, Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race, leaving Joe Biden as the lone Democratic frontrunner.

May In May, the world watched George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers, which unleashed the floodgates of protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests, violent and non-violent, took over headlines. While other countries slowly reopened, the U.S. reported 100,000 COVID deaths on May 27, 2020.

by Izzy Ster


Jun. BLM protests rolled over into June and took a global stage, with countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Germany, France, and the U.K. demanding justice. In response, cities cut police budgets while protesters tore down Confederate flags and statues of white supremacists. Over two million COVID cases had been confirmed in the U.S., but cities sought to reopen despite the spike in cases. Of course, in the political world, the infamous Trump Tulsa rally occurred, in which TikTok teens and K-pop stans bought out thousands of tickets as a prank. On another note, terrifying murder hornets arrived in the U.S., a peak “really, 2020?” moment.

Jul.

Protests carried into July and the country watched as the federal government deployed law enforcement officers to Portland in the name of protecting federal property. President Trump announced the U.S.’s immediate and formal withdrawal from the World Health Organization, as the U.S. lost over 25,000 lives to COVID in July alone.

Aug. Following in August, Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, announced his running mate: Senator Kamala Harris, leading to a historic ticket with the potential of the first female, and, at that, the first person of color to serve as Vice President on the horizon. Our country began to see difficulties within the USPS, as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy acknowledged unintended consequences, such as mail delays, as a result of budget cuts. The USPS began early warnings regarding potential delivery delay of mail-in ballots for the upcoming election.

(“Will you just shut up, man?”) and commentary on the pandemic, voting fraud, and climate change, displayed American dysfunction to the world. Ahead of the grand jury decision for the Breonna Taylor case, Louisville declared a state of emergency. The decision indicted only one officer involved.

Oct.

On October 2, 2020, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID. A plethora of states reported record-breaking numbers of early and mail-in voters. A blue moon passed as we watched others try to find normalcy on Halloween.

Sep. Nov. As CCA continued distance learning into the fall, while some schools began reopening phases, September brought the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG. As the world mourned, President Trump quickly moved to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barret to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. The country cringed as the first presidential debate, filled with interruptions

November brought the highly anticipated election. Despite agonizingly slow counts in states such as Nevada and Pennsylvania, voters elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to lead our country for the next four years despite protests from the Trump administration. President Trump took his refusal to concede to court, opening investigations into voter fraud; however, this was met with little to no success. The U.S. saw four million new COVID cases in November alone, as we

all braced for a difficult winter.

Dec. The winter brought the first vaccinations; the U.K. approved the Pfizer vaccine on December 2, 2020. Many regions again faced intense lockdowns, such as Canada and California, amidst the holidays. Though court challenges continued, all 50 states and the District of Columbia certified their presidential election results, affirming Joe Biden’s win. While many were opening Santa’s gifts on Christmas Day, Nashville citizens were rocked by an intentional explosion. The world (finally) bid adieu to 2020 in a New Year’s Eve like no other. Notwithstanding all of this turmoil, the global community has endured 2020 and has emerged stronger because of it. Alongside these headlines in history textbooks, let our generation be remembered as a resilient one: the one that tried to work together, in the face of great polarization, to make some sense of the great loss we have faced this year. As we head into 2021, let’s take the hardships from 2020 and turn them into lessons, learn from our mistakes, and try to make 2021 a good year. Or at least one that doesn’t make life feel like a simulation.

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W WEXODUS EXODUS bybyLiam LiamRosenberg Rosenberg

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On On an inconspicuous ininigniting an inconspicuous Twitter Twitter ignitinghis his mid-autumn in 2020, legion legion antimid-autumn day day in 2020, of of thetheantiAmerica’s trajectory establishment.InIna amove move America’s trajectory waswas establishment. forever changed. both uncharacteristicand and forever changed. ThatThat dayday both uncharacteristic -November 3, 2020, to be certainly unprecedented -- November 3, 2020, to be certainly unprecedented -- commenced companiesofofitsitssize, size, exactexact -- commenced the the forfor companies incongruous conclusion Twitter interceptedthe the incongruous conclusion to to Twitter intercepted a presidential social media prowess an a presidential social media prowess ofofan administration unlike any incumbent world leader. administration unlike any incumbent world leader. other in recent years. Free-speech advocates and otherMillions in recent years. Free-speech advocates and of Americans White House analysts alike Millions of Americans White House analysts alike thronged local voting agree that Trump is going thronged local agree thata dangerous Trump is road, going booths, withvoting polls down booths, with polls down a dangerous road, estimating the highest and he has now been estimating he hasfrom nowthe been turnoutthe in highest over a century andbanned platform. turnout in over a century banned from the platform. in spite of the ongoing But was disabling some in spite of the ongoing But was disabling some pandemic. The floodgates functionality of Trump’s pandemic. The floodgates of Trump’s had opened, be it behind a functionality tweets due to or through misinformation an act of had polling opened,station be it behind a tweets due to a mail-in November misinformation bravery or mereanpandering polling stationballot. or through act of 3 was a day when to the Left? a mail-in ballot. November bravery or mere pandering Americans, Although it is the 3 wascountless a day when to the Left? sequestered in their homes topic of muchitdebate, countless Americans, Although is the the for months, were finally consensus among sequestered in their homes topic of much debate, the able to participate in our consensus conservatives is the latter for months, were finally among democracy. being true -- Twitter may able to participate in our conservatives is the latter “Build the wall” was have cost Trump the democracy. being true --However, Twitter may what former President election. the “Build Trump the wall” cost Trump the we are Donald hadwas said have bottom line is that whatalong former the to hisPresident campaign trail election. seeing aHowever, societal return Donald Trump had said bottom line is that we are back in 2016, but in an the days of pre-populism. alongironic his campaign trail a societal return to twist of fate, it was seeing Whether it’s corporations backhim in 2016, but in an the days of pre-populism. behind the wall on influencing consumers or ironic twist of fate,His it was Whether it’sway corporations Election Day. the other around, many in influencing media behemoths like or him incendiary behind thetweets, wall on consumers whichDay. he condemned fake theFacebook, and Election His other wayGoogle, around, news, were consistently Twitter are taking an incendiary tweets, many in media behemoths like labeled as misleading by Facebook, interestingly hardand stance which he condemned fake Google, the platform. No longer on falsities. The news, were consistently Twitter are taking an could Trump weaponize ubiquitous hard 280 character labeled as misleading by interestingly stance the platform. No longer on falsities. The could Trump weaponize ubiquitous 280 character

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent Pulse Magazine as a whole.

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blurbs blurbsgracing gracingTrump’s Trump’s timeline timelinedon’t don’tstand standalone alone anymore. anymore.Instead, Instead,they theyare are now nowoften oftenaccompanied accompanied bybywarnings warningsdetecting detecting what whatcould couldonly onlybebe described describedusing usingTrump’s Trump’s favorite favoritephrase, phrase,“fake “fake news.” news.” Trump’s Trump’splaying playingfield field isn’t isn’tletting lettingmanipulated manipulated information informationtake takea apass pass this thistime timearound. around.His His supporters supportershaven’t haven’talways always unequivocally unequivocallyloved loved Twitter Twitterand andFacebook, Facebook,but but they theywere werethe thebarracks barracksofof his his2016 2016presidential presidentialrun. run. InInaddition, addition,the the organizational organizationalability abilityofof his hissupporters supportersmay may degrade degradeafter afterBiden’s Biden’s inauguration, inauguration,asasthe the platforms platformscould couldthen then circumvent circumventTrump’s Trump’s executive executiveauthority authorityand andset set free freeunbridled unbridledcensure censure (yes, (yes,Trump Trumpreally reallydid did issue issueananexecutive executiveorder order restricting restrictingTwitter Twitter moderation: moderation:Executive Executive Order Order#13925.). #13925.).What’s What’s Trump Trumpwithout withoutTwitter? Twitter? What Whatare arehis hissupporters supporters without withoutTrump? Trump? And Andthat thatisiswhere where Parler, Parler,Gab, Gab,and andRumble Rumble come comeinto intoplay. play.Described Described asasa aright-wing right-wingecho echo chamber chamberbybyVice, Vice,Parler Parler proclaims proclaimsitself itselftotobebeanan “unbiased “unbiasedfree freespeech speech social socialnetwork.” network.”Parler’s Parler’s interface interfaceisisakin akintotoTwitter Twitter ininmore moreways waysthan thannot. not. Once Oncesigned signedup upfor forParler, Parler, itsitsconservative conservativeslant slant becomes becomesa alot lotmore more pronounced. pronounced.I Istarted startedmy my account accountfor forinvestigative investigative purposes, purposes,but butbefore beforeany any

action actionwas wastaken, taken,the thesite site pushed pushedthe theParler Parlerprofiles profiles ofofseveral severalinfamously-right infamously-right wing wingpublications publicationsininmy my direction. direction.AtAtthe thetop topofofitsits suggestions suggestionslist listwas wasPrager Prager University, University,which whichMother Mother Jones Jonesonce oncedescribed describedasas“a“a diehard diehardTrump Trump cheerleader.” cheerleader.”On Onitsits suggested suggestedusers userspage pagewas was ananeven evenmore moresizable sizablelist list ofofRepublican Republicanenthusiasts, enthusiasts, such suchasasTexas TexasSenator SenatorTed Ted Cruz, Cruz,Fox FoxNews News commentator commentatorSean Sean Hannity, Hannity,and andselfselfproclaimed proclaimed“political “political martyr” martyr”Dinesh DineshD’Souza. D’Souza. What’s What’smost most interesting interestingisishow howdeep deep the therabbit rabbithole holegoes goesfrom from there. there.On Onthe theParler Parler “Feed” “Feed”page, page,you’re you’re presented presentedwith witha aclean clean black blackand andred redinterface. interface. To Tothe theright rightisisa alist listofof “suggested” “suggested”hashtags, hashtags, which whichallallinterestingly interestinglyhad had a avery veryclear clearRepublican Republican bias. bias.Just Justone oneisis#Twexit #Twexit-- -and andthe therate rateatatwhich which parleys parleys(Parler’s (Parler’sversion versionofof tweets) tweets)are arebeing being published publishedalongside alongsidethis this hashtag hashtagisisunbelievable. unbelievable. “Save “Savethe thepresident,” president,”reads reads one onesuch suchparley. parley.“Follow “Follow me medown downthe therabbit rabbithole!” hole!” InInspite spiteofof conservatives conservativesfeigning feigning what whatthey theyconceive conceivetotobebea a suppression suppressionofoftheir their liberty, liberty,on onParler, Parler,a arather rather similar similarpattern patternhas has emerged emerged-- --but buton onthe the other otherend endofofthe thespectrum. spectrum. Down Downthis thisrabbit rabbithole, hole, another anotherprolific prolifichashtag hashtag has hasbeen beenmaking makingitsits rounds. rounds.#BanDemocrats, #BanDemocrats,

with withover over1,000 1,000tagged tagged parleys parleysasasofofwriting, writing, seems seemstotochannel channelthe the animosity animositysurrounding surroundingthe the election electiontotothe theother other direction. direction.These Theseare areoften often supplemented supplementedbybymemes memes referencing referencingthe thedisdain disdaina a Founding FoundingFather Fatherwould would have havefor fortoday’s today’sAmerica. America. Without Withoutprobing probingthe the site’s site’smore morecontroversial controversial aspects, aspects,from fromwhat whatone one can cansee seesosofar, far,the the proliferation proliferationofofhatred hatredand and chaos chaoson onplatforms platformslike like Parler Parlerisisalarming. alarming.InIn response responsetotoa aperceived perceived threat threattototheir theirfreedom freedomofof speech speechbybythe theLeft, Left,the the Right Rightisisdoing doingthe thevery very same samething thingthey theyopposed, opposed, with withmany manyon onParler Parler actively activelyseeking seekingtoto suppress suppressthe theopposing opposing view. view.Once-respected Once-respected individuals individualsamong amongthe the GOP GOPand andespecially especiallythe the Trump Trumpadministration administration have havebought boughtinto intothis this assessment assessmentbybyand andlarge. large. One OneofofIvanka IvankaTrump’s Trump’s recent recentparleys parleysalleges allegesa a “political “politicalvendetta,” vendetta,”which which isisa atwo-way two-waystreet streetbetween between Trump Trumpsupporters supportersand and Democrats. Democrats. One Onecan cangloss glossover over the thetrivial trivialdetails detailsofof Twitter’s Twitter’sdecision decisiontotostart start fact-checking fact-checkingon onitsitssite, site, and andititisisdefinitely definitelywithin within their theirrights rightsasasa a corporation corporationtotodo doso. so. However, However,ititisisnothing nothing short shortofofdisturbing disturbingthat that Americans Americanshave havedecided, decided, largely largelyon onthe thebasis basisofof “free “freespeech,” speech,”totorelegate relegate themselves themselvestotoecho echo chambers chamberson onthe theinternet. internet.

Foreign Foreigninfluence influencehas has reached reacheditsitspeak peakon onboth both sides, sides,with withthe theRussian Russian Internet InternetResearch ResearchAgency Agency (a(agroup groupassociated associatedwith witha a mass massmisinformation misinformation campaign campaignduring duringthe the2016 2016 election) election)setting settingup upbase base on onParler, Parler,and andtroves trovesofof Iranian Iranianaccounts accounts masquerading masqueradingasas Americans Americanson onTwitter. Twitter. The Theso-called so-called “Twexit” “Twexit”isisexacerbating exacerbating the thepolitical politicaldivide dividewithin within this thiscountry. country.AAline linemust must bebedrawn drawnbetween betweenour our First FirstAmendment Amendmentright right and andananepistemic epistemicbubble. bubble. Suppression Suppressionbybyomission omission isisno nobetter betterthan than suppression suppressionitself, itself,and and although althoughititisiswell wellwithin within the theprerogative prerogativeofofsocial social media mediasites sitestotodo dowhat what they theywish wishwith withtheir their respective respectiveplatform, platform,they they have havetotostart starttaking taking responsibility. responsibility.Foreign Foreign governments governmentsclearly clearlyhave havea a hand handininthe thecreation creationofof the theaforementioned aforementionedsocial social media mediatrends, trends,and andititisis time timefor forusustotostep stepup uptoto the theplate. plate.

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. Disclaimer: Disclaimer:The Theopinions opinionsexpressed expressedininthis thisarticle articledo donot notrepresent representPulse PulseMagazine Magazineasasaawhole. whole.


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