Eastfield Et Cetera December 1, 2021

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Etera Dallas College Eastfield Campus

Find new and exciting activities to do this

holiday season with family and friends

See pages 6-7

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Volume 53, Issue 5

Left Behind Students struggle to find transportation See page 2



Wednesday, December 1, 2021


The Et Cetera

Some students lack affordable transportation By ALEJANDRO CONTRERAS and HARRIET RAMOS Contributor and Editor in Chief @TheEtCetera

Education major Carmen Cisneros spends $40 a week on Uber rides since she lost her only means of transportation this semester. Cisneros was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child and can’t drive. When her mother had to make an emergency trip to Mexico about two months ago, her only option to get to Eastfield was the rideshare company. Even though her mother has since returned, one of the family’s vehicles broke down and Cisneros has to continue relying on Uber. Cisneros said she is using financial aid to pay for her classes, but her parents have to help with the Uber expense. “When I don’t have money on my card or if something happens, I build courage and go straight to my parents,” Cisneros said. “I ask, ‘Can I have money for the Uber?’ … So now when they put money on my card, that’s when I can start taking the


A person sits at Eastfield’s DART drop-off location on Nov. 17.

Uber again.” Cisneros only lives 10 minutes away from campus, but she faces a common problem that Eastfield students living in Mesquite experience. Dallas College students can ride DART services for free, but Mesquite is not part of the DART system. Students like Cisneros have

to find other options. At a Nov. 10 meeting with student journalists, Chancellor Joe May said he knows transportation continues to be a problem for many college students, especially those who don’t have easy DART access. College leadership was talking with local rideshare companies before

ity in recent years with about $1 billion in revenue for 2021, according to Statista. The National Junior College Athletic Association Esports was founded in 2019, and now has over 60 two-year colleges competing in the program, according to its website. Esports coach Skylar McCort said having those spaces available is going to be vital for spring competitions. “When we do competitive tournaments we will have to be on campus so that we know there’s no cheating or anything like that,” McCort said. “[And] know that we’re using proper equipment that hasn’t been tampered with.” McCort, who is also a part-time gaming coach for the Dallas Mavericks, is one of two coaches who have been hired so far. She and Anthony Inzunza work with the 45 students who are enrolled in the program. McCort said coaching virtually has its pros and cons. “It’s good for getting everybody there and it works better on their time schedule,” McCort said. “It is a little more difficult on the coaching side because you do need to be able to review each students’ video and know what they’re doing and kind of

single out which student needs help in which area.” McCort said the teams have had practice scrimmages with other colleges, but they won’t compete until spring. Right now, there are seven games that the students are practicing: “Rocket League,” “Super Smash Bros.,” “League of Legends,” “Valorant,” “Call of Duty: Cold War,” “Overwatch” and “Apex: Legends.” Velazquez is on the League of Legends team but said he might try out for Apex also. League of Legends is in the multiplayer online battle arena genre while Apex is an online multiplayer battle royale game. Jones said students can play in up to three games. “The only thing we ask is that students time manage and also pay attention to their academics first,” Jones said. Velazquez said the semester has gone well, but he is looking forward to playing on-campus at Richland this spring. He said making callouts have been the hardest thing about playing virtually. In gaming, players use callouts to relay strategies and other informa-

the pandemic about the possibility of establishing a similar option for Dallas College students but May said the conversation stopped when the pandemic hit. May said even students who have access to DART sometimes have to pay rideshare expenses, and a prepandemic survey of transportation costs showed some students were spending $40 to $50 per day just to get to a DART location. “DART is last mile, not first mile, even under the best circumstances,” May said.“Everybody’s got to do something to get to a station or stop.” Dallas College is currently conducting a transportation survey to find out more about students’ transportation needs. Students can participate in the survey using the link blog.dallascollege.edu/2021/11/ transportation-survey-2021. Tracie Lowe, dean of student success research, told The Et Cetera in an email that administrators will use the results to discover what changes are needed to improve students’ access to transportation. “Access to reliable transportation

... often impacts student success and persistence in college,” Lowe said. “[The] college continues to seek student input on the institution’s services to students because their voice is necessary.” Students who do have DART access can find out more information on how to apply for a DART pass at dallascollege.edu/gopass. Disabled students living outside of Mesquite in DART service areas could benefit from DART’s paratransit services. Forcurb-tocurb service, students can use DART GoLink. May said the board of trustees is also discussing the establishment of Welcoming Centers on campuses where the DART buses can unload and provide support for students with long-distance commutes. “[We’re trying ] to create kind of a central place that you’re not just dropped off at the back of a campus, but really that folks coming in through public transportation are welcomed,” May said. “That’s going to be kind of a centerpiece of what we do in the future.”

Game on: Dallas College plugs in to competitive esports By HARRIET RAMOS Editor in Chief @HarrietRamosETC

Fernando Velazquez, a history major, was getting ready to register for the fall semester when he got an email informing him about Dallas College’s esports program. He applied the same day. “It’s an opportunity that I never had before,” Velazquez said. “[And] an experience that I’ve always wanted.” This is the first semester that Dallas College has had an esports program. Dallas College athletic director Saadia Jones said the program is a “work in progress.” Jones said there will eventually be a dedicated space with computers and gaming equipment on each campus for esports, but this semester the students have been practicing and competing in scrimmages from home. The spaces at Cedar Valley and El Centro were completed on Nov. 19, and Jones said she anticipates the other campuses will have their spaces ready by the start of the spring semester. Esports has exploded in popular-


Coach Skylar McCort, left, watches players train at Richland on Nov. 22.

tion to their teammates. “We’re not all next to each other or in a proper voice channel where we’re without any disruptions,” Velazquez said. “But other than that, there hasn’t been really any problems.” This is Velazquez’s last year at Dallas College, but he plans to keep

taking one class per semester at Richland even after he transfers so he can keep playing esports with his team. He said he hopes to get scholarships through esports that will help with his future schooling. “I see this as a chance,” Velazquez said.



Wednesday, December 1, 2021


The Et Cetera

Dallas College libraries become learning commons By AIMEE JIMENEZ Contributor @TheEtCetera

Libraries on all seven Dallas College campuses have transitioned into learning commons. Academic testing, tutoring, academic labs and computer assistance are all included in the new structure. Maggie Baker, the learning commons regional manager, said the change will provide enhanced support for students and faculty. “We want to have a one-stop shop for the students, so they don’t have to go all over campus to get different resources,” Baker said. Most of these resources will be available in the learning commons, but academic testing will be in C-275. Baker said a contact sheet with all the different locations under learning commons support will be available to students. “They can expect a seamless transition of using resources,” Baker said. “They can experience workshops, get tutoring, study skills, and if needed, reserve rooms. All these resources will be within in the learning commons.” Baker said one of the reasons for the transition was to solve the issue of disparity of resources on the different campuses. Some campuses had the most


Alex Morris, left, tutors sports medicine major Garrison Conliffe on Nov. 23 in the learning commons at Eastfield.

updated technology for students to use while others had to settle for less advanced resources. Under the new learning commons, each campus will have sufficient computer labs and testing materials to meet students’ needs. Smarthinking, an online tutoring service, is one of the new resources that’s been added. On-campus tutoring hours are still from 8a.m.-8p.m. Monday through

Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. English faculty Kassandra Buck expressed concern that her students won’t have the help under the new structure that they had previously. “If I needed help finding resources [before], I would always have a librarian to help me,” Buck said. “And I feel like now they will be shortstaffed. They won’t have the ability to help me find resources and help me

to better my classes.” Library staff at all campuses were consolidated during the reorganization to Dallas College, and even though a total of 39 new staff members were recently hired to fill those positions, Eastfield campus alone has an estimated 14,000 students. “The numbers do not match,” Buck said. “They are still wanting to hire more people, but I feel it is going to be overwhelming for the librarians

to keep up with students’ needs and faculty’s needs.” Buck said the resource desk that was previously in the library should be brought back. The resource desk was a place where students without textbooks and class materials could review and make copies of standby materials that the library had available. Buck said librarians used to come into her class and create engaging activities so students could learn to use the databases and find sources. They would also explain the difference between popular and scholarly sources. “Change is good. I’m not going to say it’s a bad thing,” Buck said. “But I feel there’s going to be growing pains within this new learning commons to accommodate our students. I like my students to use the library, so I hope they can create or continue some form of interactive learning sessions for students.” At a recent meeting with student journalists, Chancellor Joe May said the goal of the new learning commons structure is to provide support for a broader range of students. “That really is to … increase that support on the academic side, the learning side, the tutoring side,” May said. “That’s really, as we see, an evolving role of how students need to use the library and the resource that they can provide.”

Student, counselors emphasize mental health amid final exam pressure By CARLOS GUZMAN Staff Reporter @TheEtCetera

Political science major Hannah Spohn starts preparing for final exams the moment she steps into the classroom. In spite of her consistent academic success, the vice president of Phi Theta Kappa said studying places an increasing mental weight on her as testing deadlines approach. “[Stress] builds up,” Spohn said. “And if you let it build up, you’re going to overflow with stress. It’s going to come out [with you] snapping at people or having mental breakdowns.” At the end of each semester, students like Spohn scramble to refresh themselves on course material learned throughout the class. For some students, final exams mean the difference between failing a class or earning credits towards their major, causing students to juggle numerous study methods. “I feel as [final exams] get closer, people start to go into panic mode,” Spohn said. “Ev-

erything starts to shift into this looming fear in the back of your mind.” To prepare for her course exams, Spohn uses a variety of study techniques ranging from flash cards to eating chocolate. She also recommends tutors if needed. Anand Upadhyaya, the program lead for Eastfield’s Male Achievement Program and the former tutoring coordinator, said students utilize tutoring services more toward the end of the semester. Upadhyaya said he reminds students that preparing for exams should not come at the expense of their mental health. “We put so much pressure on ourselves,” Upadhyaya said. “We think that if we don’t do well on this exam then I won’t move on, I won’t finish [my] education and I won’t achieve my goal. That’s just not true. We need a little bit of perspective to remember that it’s just one test.” Since studying involves being immersed in learning material, Upadhyaya said that “tunnel vision” hinders engagement, which can negatively affect learning comprehension.

“I can’t lift weights for four hours. I’m going to injure myself,” Upadhyaya said. “You want to build that same discipline [with studying] where you take breaks.” Eastfield counselor Brandi Ragsdale said she provides consultation to an increased number of students during the days leading up to final exams. Although most students feel exam pressure, the effects are unique. Ragsdale addresses a variety of exam-related issues affecting anxious students. “I’ll talk to them about where their [examrelated] stress is coming from,” Ragsdale said. “When I figure out where that stress is coming from, I can find the best way to help them.” Some students forego sleep in favor of additional study time, which can have major consequences. Ragsdale said a lack of sleep can contribute to poor exam performance. Fatigue also places strain on people’s mental health. Since final exams generally cover the entirety of a class, Ragsdale said several study methods can help students feel less overwhelmed when

approaching their course material. Her main advice is for students to break down the course into an outline and learn in segments. Ragsdale said segmented study sessions are effective at reducing exam pressure while also allowing students to digest course material. Spohn said she uses this method. Between studying sessions, Spohn relaxes by trying out new hobbies, which she said improves her mental health. Upadhyaya said having a support system is also important to students. “I think it helps to have support more than anything else,” Upadhyaya said. “You can go to the tutors you’re utilizing and start to build a relationship with them. They become someone that’s in your corner.” In addition to receiving help with learning material, Upadhyaya said tutors can serve as a source of positive feedback and support. “As much as I like to study and get into the groove, I don’t want it to define my schedule,” Spohn said. “I always make sure that I have someone to talk to every day.”

Life &Arts Wednesday, December 1, 2021



The Et Cetera

Sign language interpreter finds inspiration in students

Q& A

understand what it’s like to not be able to see or hear.

Danielle Box has spent the last five years as a sign language interpreter for students at Eastfield. She recently sat down with Et Cetera contributor Amanda Smith and shared about the motivation for her career choice and the joy she finds in helping others.


Was becoming a sign language interpreter your first choice, or was it a fallback career?


I always wanted to be a sign language interpreter, since I was a little girl.



On a given day how many students do you help? It’s different every single day. Some days I see maybe one student, some days I see 20. What services does the Accessibility Services Office provide for students?


We provide sign language interpreters. We provide carte services, which is like closed captioning, like you would see on your TV. We provide [screen] readers, and if we have students that need help with reading, we can have a classroom assistant go in and help in classes if they need it. Some of our students can’t write for themselves, so we’ll have somebody that goes in and scribes for them or takes notes for them during classes. We provide extra time for tests or assignments, and really anything that we can provide to a student that would help them to be successful in their class.


What do you like about being a sign language interpreter? Oh, I love that every day is different.

What advice do you have for students when interacting with students with disabilities?


I wish they would treat everybody the same, whether they have a disability or they don’t. I wish that they would just be friends and be kind and caring to all people. I wish the world was like that, too.


What inspired you to become one?

When I was little, there was a deaf ministry at our church, and so there was a sign language interpreter that was there interpreting church. And I just kind of fell in love with the language and was like, “I want to do that when I grow up.” So I started learning it.




Sign language interpreter Danielle Box converses in sign language with a student in the Accessibility Services Office on Nov. 22.

I get to go into different classrooms, into different meetings. I get to meet a lot of new people, whether it’s the deaf person that I’m interpreting for — a lot of times it’s the same person — but they will be meeting new people, new teachers, new classmates.


What’s the most challenging part of working as an interpreter?

Oh my gosh, the most challenging part is learning new vocabulary. All the time. For example, just this morning, I had to go into a chemistry class. And I went in there as a sub because somebody else was absent. So, it wasn’t a class that I was normally in. And of course, they’re talking about all these chemistry terms that I don’t necessarily know. So it’s just learning new vocabulary every single day.


What do you want to achieve in helping students?

I think my biggest goal is to make sure that students know that they can do whatever they put their mind to. If they like taking a chemistry class, then they can do chemistry. It may be harder, but you can do it if you really put your mind to it.


Tell me about your educational background.

I have an associate degree, but I just recently got certified as a sign language interpreter, and now I’m working on my bachelor’s degree. I am currently attending Grand Canyon University in Arizona, so I’m doing all online classes. I just started in August, and it’s going well. I like it.


What inspires you?

Honestly, what inspires me the most is our students. You know, we see a lot of people that come in, and you would think, “Oh, that person doesn’t have use of their arms or legs, or that person doesn’t have eyesight.” But they can do any and everything that any able-bodied person can do.


Do you feel like you can relate to them?

I think that I can relate to them in the aspect that I’ve been doing this for a long time. So I understand a lot of what they might need or want while they’re here at school. I may not understand all of their challenges. You can’t

Wouldn’t it make life easier now?

Yeah, that’s a big one. I think a lot of times, we don’t realize that we are not showing kindness or caring to people. People that grow up without any kind of disability, they don’t realize that them just not talking to somebody is not being kind, and I think a lot of that comes from not knowing how to approach somebody with a disability. So I don’t think that they’re necessarily always doing it on purpose, but I just wish that they would just treat everybody the same. Just be yourself. And just talk to people.


Do you have any favorite hobbies?

Really just hanging out with my kids and my granddaughter and playing. That’s probably the thing I enjoy most. I go to church, and I like to just hang out with my friends.


What’s your fondest childhood memory?


What advice would you give someone if they’re planning on becoming a sign language interpreter?

I think the memories that stick out to me the most are that my grandparents had a farm. And for Thanksgiving, everybody would get together for Thanksgiving and cook together and just spend family time together.


My biggest advice is to have a relationship with deaf people. Don’t try to learn from YouTube. Don’t try to learn from just going to class. You have to hang around people and build relationships. That’s going to be the best way for you to learn. Editor’s note: This interview was edited for style and brevity. Read the full Q&A online at eastfieldnews.com.

LIFE&ARTS Wednesday, December 1, 2021

5 @TheEtCetera

The Et Cetera


Add these indie tunes to your winter playlist By STEPHANIE KIRCHER Graphic Designer @TheEtCetera The winter season is upon us, and as the weather gets colder some people prefer listening to comforting tone music. Indie music is a good place to start, as new artists tend to create compositions that flow with the seasons. Here are five Indie releases for your winter playlist. Jordy Searcy – Fire Before the pandemic, Jordy Searcy had his first sold-out show in Nashville. After a year-long break during the pandemic, Searcy is back at work recording his second album. His song “Fire,” which is the first song on this year’s playlist from YouTube channel alexrainbirdMusic, is smooth listening with a steady beat and a story of love. Searcy is scheduled to go on tour in late December. For more information and to hear more songs from this vocalist, follow him on Spotify at open.spotify.com/ artist/0AV5z1x1RoOGeJWeJzziDz. KidEyes – First Da


The duo Greg Cahn and Ben Epand make up the band KidEyes from Los Angeles. Their song, “First Day,” is rock steady with a warm guitar melody. A YouTube October playlist posted on Oct. 4 has received almost 260 million views and three thousand likes since then. The duo has released many other local hits since their debut at Los Angeles’s live music showcase School Night. You can find more information and more songs by KidEyes on their Spotify at spoti.fi/3CZXiBy.

Freight Train Foxes – Luck Penny The indie folk duo from Australia, Pat Kenny and Kelsey Berrington, have a unique brand of suburban acoustic folk music. Their song “Lucky Penny” has a mellow tone with a beat that will have you tapping along. This song made it into the Sweater Weather playlist that was posted on Oct. 15, gaining 229 million views and 3,900 likes in less than a month. For more information and to listen to more of their music, check them out on Spotify at spoti.fi/3mUvE2w. Jordy Maxwell – Sunday Morning Coming in as fourth on Jordy Maxwell’s popular list, “Sunday Morning” was posted by YouTube channel alexrainbirdMusic on Oct. 10. The song brings a comforting, freeing tone that invites listeners to enjoy their day. Maxwell’s uncanny ability to make his music wholly relatable to a wide audience has allowed him to create popular music which has earned him over 15 million views, as well as a handful of likes daily. Maxwell is scheduled to go on tour in midDecember. To get more information and hear more songs by Maxwell, follow him on Spotify at spoti.fi/3lm1ohp. Verona – Can You Be My Friend Coming in as Verona’s most popular song, “Can You Be My Friend” has had over 14 million likes on his Spotify. Verona’s song has a simplistic calming tone that can be enjoyed over a nice hot drink. The songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Washington has been producing singles since 2020. To listen to his other songs, check out his Spotify at spoti.fi/3j3Nvmy.



Wednesday, December 1, 2021


The Et Cetera

Ways to have a holly Words and design by Stephanie Kircher, Adamaris Sanchez & Mattheau Faught


t’s been a difficult year as people are still struggling to recover from last year’s turmoil and return to normal. Everyone could use a break to unwind and embrace the holiday season. Whether you’re on a budget, looking to pub crawl with friends, enjoy the arts or have fun with the whole family, here are 20 activities to celebrate the holidays and cap off 2021.

The Christmas tree Rather than going out and buying new ornaments, you can recycle what you have used in past years. Revamp your ornaments by adding a fresh coat of paint, maybe even with a new color choice or pattern. Create new ornaments using items you find while taking a nature hike to give your Christmas tree a natural look.

Sipping’ Santa at RoPo & Logan RoPo & Logan will host a Christmas-themed pop-up bar called Sippin’ Santa until Dec. 31. Taking place in the former HIDE space, the tropical Christmas pop-up features Tiki drinks with a holiday twist.

Coupons and shopping deals

Punch Bowl Social Dallas

As the holidays approach, many shops are opening layaway centers and advertising holiday sales. Take advantage of the sales and shop for hard-to-get items first. Many discounts are available with online shopping, and having the items delivered to your home might make Christmas shopping less of a hassle.

The Punch Bowl Social has a large variety of drinks from local beers to their infamous punch. This local bar not only offers food and beverages but also includes bowling, mini golf and karaoke.

Baked goods Do you find it hard to shop for some people? Take the hassle out of gift giving and bake a variety of cookies or cupcakes to wrap and give as gifts. Make sure to add a personal touch with a holiday card or personalize each bag of goodies with a few small extras that are normally found in stocking stuffers.

Holiday décor Limit the number of holiday lights you use and keep them simple to save money on your electric bill. You can also browse the internet for DIY decoration ideas that allow you to decorate your home without going over your budget.

Viewing Christmas lights Many local communities are starting to do Christmas tree lightings, and your neighbors are getting into the holiday spirit. Over the weekend take a ride or create a walking route to see the lights in your neighborhood. It’s a good way to enjoy an afternoon and get inspiration for decorating your own house.

Deep Ellum Brewing Company Deep Ellum Brewing Company recently celebrated their tenth anniversary at the start of November. This brewing company is featuring a drink called Deep Winter, a golden porter with cocoa nibs and coffee tones. It’s a wonderful stop for the beer enthusiasts of all taste levels.

Dot’s Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard Dot’s offers a comfortable outdoor seating area equipped with propane outdoor heaters that keep the whole yard at a comfortable temperature. The courtyard is decorated with holiday lights that set the perfect mood. They are currently celebrating the fifth-year anniversary and are featuring a French toast imperial stout titled False Idol Return of the Stack.

Merry Mexican Christmas at Yellow Rosa Yellow Rosa is a nice Latin themed bar and restaurant that is featuring Merry Mexican Christmas. The Mexican Christmas, Winter Mule, Ralphie and It Snows at Yellow are four seasonal cocktails being featured for the holidays.

LIFE&ARTS The Et Cetera

7 eastfieldnews.com

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

jolly holiday season

Black on Black


The Dallas Black Dance Theatre presents Black on Black, a dance and holiday experience. Both live performances are sold out, but you can purchase a virtual link from dbdt.com/season-calendar/black-on-black/ for $25 per household. The virtual performance will be Dec. 4-6.

Snowday at the Galleria provides photo opportunities for guests of all ages. With more than 20 rooms to choose from, you should be able to find the perfect backdrop for your holiday photos. The event runs through Jan. 17.

The Elf on the Shelf “The Elf on the Shelf,” a Christmas musical set at the North Pole, features live dancing and music. The performance will take place at the Winspear Opera House at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Dec. 11. Tickets may be purchased at attpac.org/on-sale/2021/the-elf-on-theshelf/.

Big Brassy Christmas and Organ Extravagance The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s brass and percussion sections will perform Christmas carols and other holiday favorites at the Big Brassy Christmas and Organ Extravaganza. The event will be held Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Tickets may be purchased online at dallassymphony.org/productions/big-brassychristmas-organ-extravaganza/.

Christmas with the Beatles Love the Beatles? Arlington Music Hall will have bands performing covers of their well-known album “Abbey Road” along with other hits and holiday favorites. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. Tickets may be purchased at arlingtonmusichall.net and range from $25 to $65 depending on your seat.

Home for the Holiday The Mesquite Symphony Orchestra will perform “A Christmas Festival” and “Wizard in Winter” along with other holiday classics on Dec. 18 at 5 p.m. at the Mesquite Arts Center. Tickets may be purchased at mesquitesymphony.org.

Christmas on the Corridor Join this holiday-themed event to participate in family gatherings, arts and crafts, live music and much more. The event is free for all ages, but there will be vendors and food trucks available. Come be a part of the fun on Dec. 11. Christmas on the Corridor will be 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at 2913 Oates Drive in Mesquite.

Six Flags Stop by Six Flags to see millions of glittering lights, eat delicious snacks and take a walk down Candy Cane Lane. The event lasts through Jan. 2. Tickets may be purchased at sixflags.com/overtexas/events/holiday-in-the-park

Twas the Mystery Before Christmas Bring your friends and family to a mystery night at Read Play Love in McKinney on Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. There will be an escape room for older children and a treasure hunt for the younger ones. There will also be a bonfire and marshmallow roast for the whole family to enjoy. The cost is $10 per family and free for Read Play Love members. Reservations are required and can be made at readplaylove.com.

Gaylord Texan Do you want a family night out or just a date for the two of you? The Gaylord Texan has something for everyone. There are more than 25 holiday activities including ice skating and a pop-up bar. Prices vary depending on the event and you can pay at the door. The event lasts through Jan. 2.



Wednesday, December 1, 2021


The Et Cetera

Alumnus’s passion leads to successful music career By JORDAN LACKEY Opinion Editor @JordanEtc

Six years ago, freelance Dallas musician Kevin Arellano was pursuing a degree in computer science when he came to a realization. “I was trying to chase a safe degree,” Arellano said. “A semester into it I was like, ‘man, I don’t want to do that.’” At the time of his epiphany, it was already too late for Arellano to audition for many music schools, so he decided to enroll at Eastfield. “Eastfield really helped me fill in the holes in my playing because I was self-taught for the most part,” Arellano said. “My two years here really helped me prepare for a higher university setting and it worked out because when I auditioned for schools after [Eastfield] I got scholarships.” One of those scholarships Arellano received was to attend the University of Texas at Arlington. Later he was one of only five guitarists selected to study at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. Established in 1771, it’s the oldest musical institution for higher learning in the country. Arellano is now a full-time musician in the Dallas area, and he even has some experience playing in other countries like Sweden and Spain. “I think not having to get another job is probably my biggest accomplishment,” Arel-

Build a Bolder Future


Kevin Arellano plays guitar on Sept. 29 during a recital series concert at Eastfield.

lano said. “Just relying only on my guitar. And it started at Eastfield. Honestly, they really set a foundation that led me to success.” Arellano’s journey to success wasn’t one without obstacles. When he started, he was a self-taught guitarist with an interest in metal music. Looking back, he said there was a lot he needed to learn and credits the “tough love”

he received from music instructors like Oscar Passley for his success. “He didn’t know anything,” Passley said while laughing. “And that’s OK. That’s why we’re here. And that’s why you go to school so you can learn a lot of this stuff.” Passley said Arellano would sometimes become “dark” or sullen after hearing criticisms. However, that only seems to have emboldened him to work even harder. “He was just that guy,” Passley said. “He was always in the practice rooms. He was always stopping by my office. He was always looking for information, always trying to figure stuff out.” Passley believes Arellano’s drive and work ethic are what allowed him to achieve musically. “He wasn’t necessarily my most talented kid,” Passley said. “But he was the one that just won’t let go. There’s a lot to be said about that.” Years after graduating from Eastfield, Arellano was asked to return to campus in October to play a jazz set for Passley’s current students alongside fellow musicians Anthony Cappeto, Christian Levens, Christian Valdes and Andrew Garfias. Before the performance began, the all-familiar ‘tuning song’ of each musician overlapped one another to become a cacophony of gentle yet unorganized notes. The snare hit while the saxophone sang and technical jargon echoed throughout the room

from one bandmate to another. Within moments, the first song was underway—“Caravan,” by Duke Ellington. The song started off with a subdued guitar line. Arellano seemed content to gently carry the song as he tried to blend into the background. However, it didn’t take long for the music to build. Even though faces were masked, noticeable smiles could be seen throughout the room. The bass drum slapped reverb across the large image of a cartoon panda printed on its front as a subtle guitar solo started to emerge. The strings twanged within the confines of the song, building slowly into an ever-increasing display of complexity and ability. At the height of his solo, Arellano’s guitar harshly glistened in the reflected light, contrasting the soothing and effortless sound it was creating. The quintette seemed to have a language all their own. With the smallest facial expressions and eye movements they could communicate with precision while never having to speak an actual word. Arellano says this form of communication wouldn’t be possible without the close relationship him and his bandmates share. Longtime friend of Arellano’s and drummer for the quintette, Christen Levens, said he couldn’t agree more. “When you’re playing with your friends, there is no wrong answer,” Levens said.

with a degree from Texas Woman’s

Join us at Pioneer Preview Day in Denton Saturday, Dec. 4, 8 A.M.-12 P.M. Learn about: • Admissions • Financial Aid • Scholarships Tour the campus – Families welcome!

Register at

Sports The Et Cetera

Dec. 3 Dec. 4 Dec. 6 Dec. 10 Dec. 11 Dec. 14

Basketball vs. Southwestern Basketball vs. Temple Basketball vs. McLennan Basketball vs. Champions College Basketball vs. Champions College Basketball vs. Grayson


6 p.m. 1 p.m. 6 p.m. 6 p.m. 1 p.m. 4 p.m.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Harvesters come back stinging with vengeance By EDUARDO PEREZ Contributor @TheEtCetera

After not having a season last year, Harvesters basketball is off to a 10-1 start and No. 2 ranking. The Harvesters’ up-tempo style of play has helped them outscore opponents by an average of 36 points throughout the first nine games of the season. “Offensively, we really want to get uncontested shots,” coach Anthony Fletcher said. “We don’t want to play hard basketball [with contested shots].” The team has scored over 100 points in seven of their regularseason games. The team is shooting 41% from the 3-point line to complement an incredible 54% from the field overall. Their performance has led to the team ranking second in the nation. Right behind the Harvesters at No. 5 in the national poll is conference rival North Lake at 5-0. “It’s strong every year,” Fletcher said of the conference competition. “We’ve got some really good coaches.” Fletcher believes their biggest strength so far is how well they have shot the ball from the 3-point line. When his teammates are making shots, Geontay Davis says it makes the game easier. “Seeing everybody locked in makes everything smoother,” he said. Newcomer Spencer Simes transferred from Mid-South Junior College and has already made a big impact. In only the second game of the regular season, Simes scored 51 points in 36 minutes. “He’s a dog, so he has to play like a dog all the time,” Fletcher said. Simes credits Eastfield’s early success this season to being able to practice in person. Communication has helped the players to bond with each other. “We want to be one family and that’s what it’s becoming,” Simes said. “As time goes on, you’ll see it. It’ll show on the court.” Fletcher said he is continuing to add to his playbook and needs each player to know every play from each position. By now, each player has studied enough to be able to play “positionless” basketball, as Fletcher calls it. Fletcher’s style of basketball is not easy to adjust to, especially for guys who were stars in high school. “There’s going to have to be some sacrifice,” Fletcher said, adding that there are not many minutes to go around so players must get used to not getting as many as they got in high school. Apart from the team’s ultimate goal of hanging a banner and becoming champions, Fletcher said he wants his players to succeed. “My next goal for [the players] is graduation and they get moved on to the four-year level,” he said. “That’s the exciting part for me.” Jamari Robertson, who is a first-team Academic All-American, also has the same ideal for his teammates. Robertson wants to make sure he “can go to guys on the team and the guys can come to me if they need anything.” So far the team has been on the same page and they’re looking to build on it throughout the season with their consistent play. “I don’t ever want to have those games where I’m here today and I’m not there the next,” Simes said. “I always want to have that hot motor.”


Clockwise from top, guard Anthony Hunter defends the ball from two Paul Quinn College players on Nov. 17, when the Harvesters won 91-79. Guard Spencer Simes shoots a free throw during the game against Paul Quinn College. Forward Keshon Weakley leaps to score for Eastfield on Nov. 17.

opinion Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Etera Award-winning member of: • Texas Intercollegiate Press Association • Texas Community College Journalism Association • Associated Collegiate Press • College Media Association

Dallas College Eastfield Campus 3737 Motley Drive Mesquite, TX 75150 Phone: 972-860-7130 Email: etc4640@dcccd.edu Editor in Chief Harriet Ramos Graphics Editor Mattheau Faught Opinion Editor Jordan Lackey Photo Editor Chantilette Franklin Production Manager Skye Seipp Senior Photographer Rory Moore Photographers Eddie Williams Vera DeJohnette Staff Writers Carlos Guzman Reporters Alejandro Contreras Contributors Leah Salinas Eduardo Perez Alli Paveglio

Keturah Jones Aimee Jiminez

Graphic Designers Adamaris Sanchez Ricardo Rivas Stephanie Kircher Publication Adviser Elizabeth Langton Faculty Adviser Lori Dann The views expressed on the opinion pages and other opinion pieces and cartoons in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Et Cetera, Eastfield College or the Dallas County Community College District. The Et Cetera is published by a student staff. Each member of the college community is entitled to one free copy of The Et Cetera. First Amendment Right Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Letters to the Editor Letters must be typed, signed and include a phone number. Letters will be edited for profanity and vulgarity, Associated Press style, grammar, libel and space when needed. The content will remain that of the author. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

ABOUT THE COVER Illustration by Mattheau Faught

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When citizens freeze, Texas turns a cold shoulder Carlos Guzman @TheEtCetera

With Gov. Greg Abbott’s complacency, the once in a blue moon winter disaster that happened last February could happen again if full provisions aren’t made to upgrade the state’s power grid. Although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a warmer winter for Texas, the state’s government should use this time to make proper adjustments to the power grid. The latest provisions aren’t enough to prevent a repeat incident of the 2021 winter storm. From Amarillo to Houston, nearly every Texan suffered through loss of life or property. The state government received a call to action from citizens who want to prevent this disaster from happening again. If the thousands of frustrated voices weren’t enough for Texas leaders to learn their lesson and upgrade the state’s antiquated infrastructure, then the Federal Reserve’s

$130 billion storm damage estimate should sway them to do better. Abbott said “everything was done to fix the power grid in Texas” upon passing Senate Bill 3. But writing a loophole allowing natural gas providers, the state’s main source of power, to opt out of winterization requirements clearly isn’t enough. The bill reads that gas companies don’t need to update their power grids until 2023. Thanks to massive deregulation, which began in 1999, power providers only have to suit the state’s standards for electrical reliability. Whereas the rest of the country runs on two separate, interconnected grids, Texas’s power grid is privatized, meaning that we’re at the mercy of corporations when it comes to electrical options. And as we’ve all come to recognize, corporations like to cut corners where they can. Sadly, the consequences for doing so were at our expense. I was among the fortunate few to still have working plumbing and electricity during the freeze. However, I can’t say the same for my neighbors. On one side of my

street, I observed my neighbor dig up their flooded lawn to repair a burst pipe. On the opposite end, my neighbors complained that the frozen roads stopped them from going out for food. When the ice finally melted, our complaints brewed a political sandstorm. Texans urged their leaders to provide a fast resolution to the catastrophe. Instead, Sen. Ted Cruz showed us how fast he can flee when he headed to Cancun during the crisis. It seems that taking responsibility is too difficult for our representatives. They were quite eager to put the blame on elements within their control instead, utilizing the crisis as a political tool. After that, the collective effort to make our state’s leaders prevent another incident was lost on their corporate agendas. Their inaction is openly enabling the crisis to repeat itself next time Texas freezes over. According to ERCOT, the power grid was four minutes and 23 seconds away from total failure. If the grid exceeded that limit, then we would’ve witnessed blackouts for weeks to come.

We barely avoided disaster by a miracle, but it’s clear that leaders refuse to learn their lesson. In a 2011 report, the Federal Electrical Regulatory Commission warned about failing to winterize, but the state’s government hasn’t required that as it doesn’t complement the corporate market our power grid was deregulated for. Texas suffered from leaders who prioritized their wallets. And if they keep it up, all it takes is one storm to plunge the state into another crisis. The state is due for a leader who can heed the disaster warnings and adapt accordingly for our sake. If we want politicians who truly care about us, we need to bring our ire to the polls. During the freeze, the internet featured image compilations of plumbing aisles packed with people. The polls need to look the same when we’re given the option for a politician who can build up better infrastructure. When the time comes to cast your vote, remember who denied you a spot at the campfire. –Carlos Guzman is a staff writer and an English major

Disappointed graduate still has hope for Dallas College From the day I started classes at Eastfield, I was amazed with the atmosphere of college life. Staff walked around on their down time to help students find their way through the campus. Students were excited to learn and become familiar with this community. There were a variety of clubs, such as the Anime Club and the Communication Club. I was excited by all the activities the college offered and wanted to be part of things and within my third semester I became president of the Digital Media Club. I became active in as many school events as possible thanks to the convenient listings of all events for the month posted in each restroom stall. Many activities were well planned out and were able to attract large crowds of students to participate. My first three semesters had me feeling pride in both my choice to return to school and my choice of school. Once the pandemic started and

we all have to do virtual classes I had my set of worries as to how this would affect my education considering the last time I took an online class I didn’t due to well. As soon as I heard we would start opening classes for the fall semester I did not hesitate to register, and my excitement grew. My main expectation was now that we were merged into one college, we would have a larger sense of community. With this time in isolation, I had expected the college leaders to have time to plan and be ready for the reopening of class on campus. I had gotten my vaccine and agreed to wear a mask while being present on campus all to have the chance to jump right back into a community I had come to love. What I found was a lot of disorder that has left many students just like me in a state of disappointment. I had already expected this fall semester to start off with very few students present considering we are still far from the end of this pan-

demic. What I did not expect was to encounter confused faculty due to the lack of communication from higher ups, leaving many educators unable to answer questions pertaining to classes, college activities and even the graduation process. Many activities are being spread to cover all campuses but no form of advertisements for these events are easily found, leaving many students unaware of campus activities until the day of. Many clubs still listed on the website are no longer active and have left students with no reason to stay on campus after their classes are over for the day. The Digital Media Club alone had around 15 active members before the pandemic and currently has only six members. This leaves students who are about to graduate with a lack of pride and many other students with a sense of needing to look for a better college experience elsewhere. My hope still has not been diminished, as a student in her last

Stephanie Kircher @TheEtCetera

semester at Dallas College I would only ask that communication be established from administration to faculty and staff. It’s not a blame game situation but a chance for us as one college to look at this semester and learn how to grow as a community. There is much work to be done but not all that weight is solely on the college. Students have the power to restart clubs and plan events that can help the college as a whole become closer. The message must be stated clearly that Dallas College should not hinder but motivate all students and faculty to come together to voice concerns and find solutions that help get our college going in the right direction. –Stephanie Kircher is a graphic designer and a digital media major



The Et Cetera


Wednesday, December 1, 2021


Lack of transportation is a barrier to students We firmly believe in the power of education. We understand the impact and opportunity that knowledge can bring. But to attain that valuable education, there are several resources that students need to succeed. During the shutdown, and even after, we saw how important internet access can be for students. But now, with face-to-face classes returning, we’ve seen the reemergence of a problem that has fallen to the backburner in the wake of COVID-19 — transportation. It’s come to our attention that some students are spending hundreds of dollars a month just to get on campus. We’ve received reports from students ranging between $160 to $240 a month in ridesharing fees alone. Yes, Dallas College students can ride DART services for free. However, Mesquite is not part of the DART system and some students attending Eastfield cannot take advantage of this service. And since the merger to one college, many students have no other choice but to attend classes at multiple campuses, forcing their travel expenses to skyrocket, even for students within the DART network. In a Nov. 10 meeting with student journalists, Chancellor Joe May said some students are spending $40 to $50 per day just to get to a DART location in the first place, according

Transportation costs pile up


to a pre-pandemic survey. Many of us are here, trying to get an education, so we can improve our financial situation, not dig ourselves into a deeper fiscal hole. The average student simply doesn’t have the means to sustain that level of spend-

ing. As a result, some students have had to drop classes and others may have to dropout altogether. We firmly believe that it’s in the best interest of students, as well as Dallas College if they want to maintain enrollment, to find a better

transportation alternative. Many colleges throughout the country have already made agreements with ridesharing apps, such as Uber or Lyft, so students can get from one campus to another either for free or at a significant discount.

We understand the issue with DART is a matter of Mesquite city politics and not because of Dallas College. But we urge our administrators, please help the college by helping students. Call Uber.

All play, no work isn’t the way to go for student athletes Student-athletes is a term used to describe the priorities of those who play college sports — a student with classes first and then an athlete. The NCAA restricts student-athletes in season practice to 20 hours a week. However, the schedule of student-athletes like myself suggests otherwise. During volleyball season this fall, I found myself spending all my time devoted to volleyball and therefore no time for school. The beginning of the season is usually intense and a grind to get through. Two-a-days, a schedule where we have two practices a day for the first week are common, and practices would be scheduled with a designated break in between. On some days we were also supposed to go to the weight room afterward. We were scheduled to be done at 6:30 p.m., but I detected a problem when we weren’t leaving

Alli Paveglio @TheEtCetera

school until 8:30 p.m. I came from a highly-ranked and competitive 6A/5A high school volleyball program that also took part in two-a-days. Although intense, practices were efficient and productive — they took care of what needed to be done while still leaving free time to get other things done. This way of doing volleyball is all I ever knew, so when our schedule didn’t go as planned this fall, at the expense of my free time, I was shocked.

Fortunately, this two-a-day schedule took place before school started, because keeping up with school on top of that would have been nearly impossible. However, even when school started and we were only practicing once a day, the team and I found ourselves still at practice when the schedule said we were supposed to be done hours ago. For some of the players, especially those with a job, this schedule was debilitating. The NJCAA and NCAA apply clearlydefined limits to how many hours athletes are allowed to practice, but it doesn’t take into consideration the hours spent outside of that prepping for the season, playing games, team meetings and extra workouts — all of which coaches suggest to athletes who want to keep up and stay in the program. From personal experience playing volleyball in high school, things like summer volleyball

camps, extra work before or after practice and strength and conditioning were heavily suggested to even be considered to play once the season started.. This type of commitment leaves almost no time for student-athletes to have a life outside of their sport, let alone time for school. When having time for relationships, work, fitness, health and emotional well-being are seen as necessary to living your best life, this schedule is unrealistic. You have no time to work on yourself. Most student-athletes are aware of the time commitment for their sport and must balance their school schedule before they even agree to play in college. However, time for studentathletes to be by themselves and away from their sport, at any level, is essential to their well-being. Otherwise, they’d spend all their time playing sports with no time to work on themselves.

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