PRISM FALL 2020
Table of Contents
3: Editors’ Welcome 4: New Honors Student Organization 6: Honors Alum Med Hall of Fame 8: Spotlight on (Un)Common Reads 10: Activism in a Pandemic 12: Confessions of a Gator Abroad 14: Behind the Mask 16: Quarantine Timeline
18: Beque Holic Review 20: Gen Z: Connected Through TikTok 22: Trapped 23: Ohmu’s Symbiosis 24: Just Breathe 25: Falling 26: Whispers & Poem 23 27: All Silver Linings
Editorial Board EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Hannah Calderazzo Erin McLoughlin CREATIVE EDITORS Nazli Islam Noah Towbin ART AND PHOTO EDITOR Grace Dooley LEAD COPY EDITORS Sofia Anrecio Joyce Jiang DESIGN EDITOR Soumya Kona SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Miranda Ingram WEB COORDINATOR Catherine Pereira
STAFF WRITERS Marguerite Andrich Brenden Berrios Emma Bissell Karina Bravo Veronika Schmalfuss Courtney Chalmers Alexandra Chertok Anand Chundi Stephanie Cobb Daniella Conde Gina Crespo Kayla Ehrlich Julia Garcia Zoe Golomb Kayla Ehrlich Alan Halaly Marisa Hart Tomas de la Huerta Ronak Kanodia Tara Kari Campbell Lackey
Jin A Lee Jason Li Tiffany Liu Jillian Malinsky Yashaswini Meduri Sarah Mellinger Annie Michel Emily Miller Kiran Mital Kosidinma Oguejiofor Priyanka Pandya Nikita Patel Brian Paulsen Derek Pena Nicole Petit Anisha Saripalli Veronika Schmalfuss Amanda Smith Holly Smith Jacob Stein Julia Zhu
EDITORS’ WELCOME Dear readers,
We have been living through a global pandemic, online classes, and countless other problems throughout this semester, and I am proud of each staff member for all of their effort they have put in this semester. In spite of all the negative events occurring in the world, we hope this magazine can bring to light all of the positive that exists, too.
In the midst of what has been a tumultuous year for everyone (to say the least), I am so proud to welcome you to the Fall 2020 edition of PRISM! I’ve been in the unique position this semester of serving as co-Editor-in-Chief while studying in Scotland, and it has shown me firsthand the dedication and resilience of all our staff. Whether on-campus in Gainesville, across Florida, or even on the other side of the Atlantic, for the first time in PRISM history we’ve worked together virtually to create this edition. This magazine is the culmination of a tremendous amount of effort from our writers, editors, designers, photographers, and illustrators, and we are so excited for you to see what our amazing staff has put together. In the midst of 2020, we hope this edition will show you there are still wonderful things occurring in the world, the Gainesville community, and the Honors Program.
Thank you to our staff members that have been patient as PRISM adjusted to an all-online format and continuing to create amazing content for both the print magazine and our website (just to shout it out: ufprism.com). This year we have had one of our largest staffs in the history of PRISM, so thank you to our many editors for helping coordinate all aspects of the magazine. Namely, thank you Sofia Anrecio and Joyce Jiang for their help in ensuring all online and print pieces get copyedited, and thank you to Grace Dooley for not only creating such beautiful artwork but encouraging others to produce some, too. Of course, I’d like to thank Hannah Calderazzo for being an amazing co-Editor-in-Chief all the way from Scotland, who still manages to answer my frantic midnight texts despite being five hours ahead. In addition, thank you to the Honors Office for their continued support of PRISM. I hope you all enjoy reading the magazine as much as we enjoyed creating it. Sincerely,
Thank you to everyone on the PRISM staff for all your hard work this semester, and for having patience with us (and all our technical difficulties) as we’ve transitioned online. Thank you to the Honors Office for your support, and, of course, thank you to our incredible PRISM editorial board for your leadership. A special shoutout goes to my co-Editor-inChief, Erin McLoughlin, for being such an awesome co-EIC and collaborator as we’ve navigated this hectic time together. Without all of our talented and dedicated editors, none of this would be possible. We also wish to extend many thanks to you, the reader, for perusing this magazine and supporting our organization. Many happy readings! Sincerely,
HONORS STUDENTS CREATE NEW ORG IN COVID TIMES Organic Chemistry: a class that all students on the pre-medicine track must take. For those who excel in chemistry, it is manageable. For others, it is one of the most difficult classes they will take at UF. When classes were in person for spring 2020, third-year Honors health science and psychology student Paola Torres Sotelo felt the negative impact of her mental illness on her rigorous coursework. She felt some hesitation sharing her struggles with her peers due to the competitive nature of being a pre-professional student at a top university. That was the case until she met two other Honors students in Organic Chemistry 2 who shared her experience. “What started off as a typical rant to close friends managed to grow into something more. Each of us were facing one of the most difficult times in our lives, and we were struggling to swim against the current. Ironically, it was in the class that we struggled the most with that we managed to find each other, and we realized we didn’t need to stand on our own. We allowed each other to share our deepest mental struggles without any judgement,” said Torres Sotelo. This support system helped them get through the semester, but then the pandemic hit. The previous struggles that they were facing were compounded when the three founders went into isolation. Many students across the country felt the devastating consequences
that quarantine and social distancing can have on mental health. Torres Sotelo and the others relied on each other to help them endure the rest of the spring semester. “We were able to freely discuss our mental health with each other. The support system that we formed as a result was one that we thought the entire UF community could greatly benefit from. Thus, we started MHS,” said third-year biology major Tori Argenti. They worked the whole summer semester to create Mental Health Support for Pre-Health Students (MHS). The goal of the organization is to help destigmatize mental health for prehealth students and offer resources to help those who are struggling. Though the club is focused on pre-health, it is open to students in any field of study. Argenti was appointed as president, and Torres Sotelo became the external vice president. “We wanted this club to be a way for people struggling with mental illnesses to feel like a part of a welcoming community during these lonely times,” Argenti said. Given the transition to online interactions for the semester, MHS has conducted all events virtually. General body meetings and some real-time events are held through Zoom, while some socials are conducted through their Facebook group. Communication with the members is through Facebook, GroupMe, and email as opposed to tabling in Turlington Plaza.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made it difficult to run a club since the circumstances prevent us from having in-person gatherings and interactions, which are best for developing friendships and showing support for others. It has also forced us to put ideas such as T-shirts on hold, as it would be difficult to buy and manage T-shirts while all officers are apart from one another,” Torres Sotelo said. Despite the drawbacks of a completely virtual organization, Argenti feels that there are some positives that came from this setting. Members do not have to show their faces and can communicate in the chat if they are not comfortable on Zoom, making it less intimidating. Without the need to meet physically, a broader range of members come to meetings as well. When discussing plans for the future, the executive board agrees that MHS will remain virtual until it is safe to operate in person. They will continue to invite speakers and have information sessions about topics relevant to college students, like imposter syndrome. Once it is safe for in-person events, Torres Sotelo thinks that they will focus on more social events to mitigate the negative effects that the online semesters have had. Meeting face to face can help members create more lasting connections with one another. Argenti finishes, “We welcome anyone in the UF community to join MHS. We are here for you, and we want you to realize that many other people understand the mental struggles that you have experienced. We do not ask anything of you, but we
will give you all that we have so you can find relief, friendship, and the confidence to ask for help (if you need it).”
You can connect with MHS through this linktree: https://linktr.ee/ufmhsclub Story by Anisha Saripalli Design by Courtney Chalmers
Dr. Jose Lezama Honors Alumnus Inducted to the UF College of Medicine Wall of Fame
Former University of Florida (UF) Honors student, Dr. Jose Lezama, was recently inducted into the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Wall of Fame. After visiting campus as a child, his dream was to become a Florida Gator. The Florida Gators football team, the high rise of Century Tower, and exciting hustle and bustle of campus captivated his bright young eyes, and he knew it was where he belonged. Dr. Jose Lezama’s dream came true after getting accepted to the University of Florida and the UF Honors Program. Through the UF Honors Program, he met his life-long mentors and learned about different volunteering and shadowing opportunities at UF Health Shands Hospital. His first medical information session at Little Hall in 1989 helped to cement his goal of attending the UF College of Medicine. “This is where I wanted to go to medical school; right here at UF. I knew I was going to be in Gainesville for the next eight years,” expressed Dr. Lezama. Dr. Lezama praises Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez-Rothi and Dr. James (Jay) W. Lynch for their encouragement and motivation. They gave him confidence and helped him learn how to overcome the challenges he would face throughout his education and career. “Dr. Lynch said to me, ‘I think you are going to be a star as a physician.’ I still remember, to this day, exactly where we were standing and the exact day of the year when he told me this. It meant so much to me that a physician I looked up to would say those words to me,” explained Dr. Lezama. Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi showed Dr. Lezama just how special and exciting being a physician is. Both Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi and Dr. Lynch inspired him to mentor pre-medical undergraduates and medical students, just as they did for him. Throughout his time at UF, Dr. Lezama was the captain of all the intramural sports teams he participated in. Being a leader is not just in his blood; it is also his passion. He knew, from day one, that he was going to be a leader.
“I love being a leader. I like being sort of the Captain Kirk of the starship Enterprise. My friends say that if I was not going to be a physician, the next thing I would be is governor or senator,” he explained. Dr. Lezama’s leadership skills are highlighted by his position as vice-chair at the University of South Florida (USF) Health Department of Internal Medicine, chief of medicine at Haley VA, and his numerous Teacherof-the-Year awards from James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. He is especially proud of his 42 internal medicine residents who all passed the Internal Medicine Certification Exam, as only 10 percent of the programs in the country have a 100 percent pass rate. Dr. Lezama aims to have the lowest mortality and morbidity of any healthcare system in the country. He works to prevent medication and physician errors to ensure that patients are getting the best care, emotionally and physically, whenever possible. Teaching, education, patient-centered care, and customer service are all the factors that he spotlights every day. “I knew I wanted to set up a system that was strong in education, strong in caring, strong in innovation, and strong in outcome because I believe in outcomes. I believe in results,” he explained.
Creating innovative medical programs is one of Dr. Lezama’s favorite parts of being a leader and a physician. One of these programs is on Mohs surgery, an extremely invasive form of dermatological surgery, at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital. This program focuses on cutting down medical errors and improving communication between physicians, nurses, social workers and patients while working on this surgery. The most challenging part of Dr. Lezama’s life is maintaining a work-home balance. He makes sure that his family always comes first and reminds students that volunteer with him that everything he has accomplished in his career is a result of his family’s encouragement. “As long as I have the opportunity to see patients and the ability to create innovative programs, I will be happy wherever my career takes me, as long as my family is with me,” expressed Dr. Lezama. Patient-physician interaction is the most enjoyable part of Dr. Lezama’s career and the reason he joined the medical workforce. He makes sure that all of his residents and mentees focus heavily on humanitarianism, and learn how to make patients as comfortable as possible. He feels that personally knowing his patients and connecting with them is the art and beauty, the treasure, of being a physician. “You can always train the brain, but you have to develop the heart,” said Dr. Lezama.
Story by Nikita Patel Design by Emily Miller Photos by Gina Crespo
SPOTLIGHT ON (UN)COMMON READS: Richard Prestonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus with Dr. Norman Beatty 8
Infectious viruses and microorganisms exist ubiquitously in nature, but for most of us, we do not think about them until an outbreak makes an appearance in the news. Typically, it is not until pandemics from Ebola to COVID-19 unexpectedly upend lives that the spread of diseases suddenly becomes more relevant than ever. Yet for epidemiologists like Dr. Norman Beatty, infectious diseases are always at the forefront of their minds. Dr. Beatty, a professor and researcher in the UF College of Medicine and Emerging Pathogens Institute, plans to lead an (Un)Common Reads course for Spring 2021 discussing the book The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus by Richard Preston centered on this very disease. Preston’s 1994 best-seller details a true and chilling account of an uncontrollable Ebola outbreak in Washington. “This book brings to light the history of the Ebola virus and other viral hemorrhagic fevers,” Dr. Beatty said. “We will learn from each character in the book how an outbreak, with a potentially lethal pathogen, is managed among experts in the field. Preston took great care in researching key characters and authorities while compiling the book, which is evident as you read. You will not only get to learn about a fascinating infectious disease, but the story behind those who were on the forefront of an outbreak that took place here in the United States.” Combined with his own expertise in the area, Dr. Beatty saw an opportunity to share his field through the medium of this popular novel. His current research involves the investigation of a Neglected Tropical Disease, known as Chagas disease, here in Florida among those who have lived in endemic regions of Latin America. “My research and career as an infectious diseases
specialist has been shaped to some extent by reading this book early in my medical training. I can vividly remember reading The Hot Zone while commuting on the NYC subway during an epidemiology rotation. It only solidified my passion for infectious diseases. I think this book excites our minds to understand that we are interconnected in many ways, thus allowing a pathogen to work its way into our society.” However, not even Dr. Beatty could predict the bearing the book would have this year. On the parallels between the book and the current pandemic he noted, “Eerily we are now living through a pandemic that has now shaped the lives of many throughout the planet. This book helps us reflect on this global interconnectivity. Throughout the course, we will discuss the patterns and parallels that we read as they pertain to the outbreak described in the book. Each outbreak will have similarities and differences depending on the pathogen, but our objective will be to touch on this during our weekly readings and discussions.” Despite an atypical hybrid course format, students interested in this course have much to anticipate. With a number of engaging and highly relevant discussions and guest speakers to come, Dr. Beatty believes all students, whether interested in medicine and microbiology, journalism and public relations, or anything in between, can have a fulfilling learning experience. “Overall my goal is to help each student enjoy the readings and our discussions, creating an atmosphere of learning and curiosity.” Story by Kiran Mital Design by Courtney Chalmers
IN A PANDEMIC
I think it’s safe to assume that when the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2020, that not even the pessimists among us could’ve predicted the turmoil and intensity of the year ahead. The coronavirus has caused an upheaval of the established way of life for much of the world. Even without COVID-19, this year would undoubtedly stand out for the ongoing and monthslong wave of Black Lives Matter protests that erupted within the United States in May and have since spread to numerous other countries around the world. With the shadow of the coronavirus looming overhead, the situation has evolved into something truly unexpected and unprecedented. The nature of the coronavirus and its spread has made the 2020 protests a more divisive topic than they would otherwise have been. Though research indicates that protesting has not contributed unduly to the coronavirus infection rates, there has been an ongoing debate over the safety of protesting during a pandemic. This question has been raised within my own family and I have listened to my relatives argue back and forth on the need for fundamental changes to how the United States deals with racial justice versus the omnipresent concerns for public health. I haven’t attended a protest yet, unfortunately,
America can and must do better but I don’t think the protestors themselves are ignorant to the realities of the pandemic. Everyone who protests is aware of the risk of infection that they are taking on. Many of the people who protest can be categorized within higher risk groups, such as diabetics, asthmatics, and people with autoimmune disorders. The Black community, which has been at the forefront of planning and executing these protests, has one of the highest mortality rates for COVID-19 of any racial or ethnic group as reported by the CDC. Despite this, the turnout for the demonstrations has been nothing short of tremendous, even months after they first began. People are actively putting their own health
truly courageous thing. I hope you understand that and I hope you continue to fight. The human spirit is indomitable. It can not and â&#x20AC;&#x153;With the shadow of the Coronavirus will not fold. In a looming overhead, the situation has evolved period of history that feels defined into something truly unexpected and by division and uncertainty, I see the 2020 protests as unprecedented.â&#x20AC;? a manifestation of this principle. In a time of record unemployment, political unrest and a pandemic whose the name of some unifying principle or idea. Especially long term impact is unknown, people are still putting now, I think it shows a great deal of trust: trust that the themselves on the line for the idea that America can and people around you have been responsible, have followed must do better. In the face of all that, the least we can do rules regarding social distance and have gotten tested. I is keep moving forward. think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brave to do this; to put so much faith in other people, to put yourself at risk during such a tumultuous Story by Brian Paulsen Design by Emily Miller and uncertain time. It has brought tears to my eyes to Illustration by Emily Miller think about the millions of people around this country and around the world who have decided that justice and equality are worth the risk to their health and safety. If you have protested, thank you. What you have done is a Fall 2020 11 at risk by protesting and yet they do it anyway, and in increasing numbers. Some have called this ignorance or hypocrisy, but I choose to see it as bravery. There is something awe-inspiring about hundreds or thousands of people coming together over something they all value so highly. Solidarity between those that have never met, walking side by side and hand in hand in
CONFESSIONS OF A
Amidst the chaos and uncertainty that has been 2020, I made what perhaps could be called an unusual decision: I decided to go ahead with my exchange program this Fall, and spend several months studying in Scotland. Since September, I’ve been taking English and Scottish Literature courses at the University of Glasgow through UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Science’s Beyond120 exchange programs. I chose to go abroad back in February, before COVID-19 overwhelmed the U.S. When lockdown occurred
and summer study abroad programs were cancelled, it seemed likely that Fall exchange programs would be next. I waited anxiously that summer, monitoring case numbers in the U.S. and the U.K. When the fall programs were given the go ahead, my choice came down to taking UF online classes at home or taking online classes in Scotland. I decided that I would be safer in Scotland, considering Florida’s high COVID-19 numbers, and I’d at least have the possibility of traveling and meeting new people. So, at the end of August, my friend and fellow UF Honors student, Sasha Vagos, and I flew over to Glasgow. Following the U.K. pandemic guidelines, we had to quarantine in our dorm for two weeks, so we made sure to arrive early before classes began. Quarantine was probably about as interesting as you would expect—we would have groceries delivered, and I focused on reading and trying out new hobbies like embroidery. Since we moved in before anyone else had arrived, we even threw
ourselves a karaoke night! Since classes began Sep. 21, I have been taking three courses, and attending class two days a week. They consist of hour or hour-and-a-half long seminars, where we discuss our readings and the lectures we’re expected to watch beforehand via Zoom. Even though they’re online, they are still enjoyable, and there’s definitely a big difference between U.K. and U.S. classes. I only have three assignments overall in my courses, plus a participation grade, which means while there’s more free time, the few essays and other classwork are worth a larger percentage of the overall grade. Scotland also imposed tighter restrictions after cases increased when university students returned. In Glasgow, besides face mask requirements and social distancing measures, visits to different households are prohibited and all restaurants now have to close by 6 p.m. The University of Glasgow did have an outbreak in several of the dorms at the beginning of the semester, with many students having to self-quarantine. Thankfully our residence hall wasn’t as badly affected, and now the number of student cases is starting to decrease. Amidst all this, the biggest question I get asked is if I’m still glad I came to study in Scotland. Admittedly, there are downsides. All the classes and various organization meetings are online, which isn’t ideal when you come to experience a different university environment. It’s sad to walk past the beautiful buildings on the campus, see them with empty and darkened windows, and wonder where my classes would have been and what the classrooms would have looked like. Glasgow is also known for being a vibrant city, with concerts and other entertainment, so it can be difficult knowing so much of that has been cancelled or postponed, especially when you hear how usually there are ceilidhs (pronounced
kay-lees), or Scottish social gatherings with country dances, all the time. However, being abroad is amazing, and I believe travelling to Scotland has still been a worthwhile experience. The people in Glasgow are super friendly, especially our flatmates, who are all from different areas of the U.K. It’s also so special to experience fall (my favorite season) in a place where you can actually see the leaves change. We live in a gorgeous Victorian neighborhood, and the fastest way from our residence into the city’s West End is through the beautiful Glasgow Botanic Gardens, which are always filled with people walking dogs! I think my favorite part has been the ability to explore the city and (safely) travel around the country. While we are not allowed in continental Europe because of the American travel ban, and England is now in lockdown, we can still travel in Scotland, which is filled with many amazing cultural and historical sites. Besides exploring the museums and other attractions in Glasgow, we’ve visited places such as Edinburgh and the Highlands. Edinburgh was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited—it has gorgeous historic architecture and hills with views of the surrounding mountains and of the ocean. It was also pretty amazing to look up and see Edinburgh Castle sitting on an overlooking hill as you’re walking around the city, hearing bagpipes from local street performers. It’s also a must-visit for any “Harry Potter” fan (regardless of your current opinion of J.K. Rowling). We took a tour that not only showed us the cafe where “Harry Potter” was originally written, but also the graveyard that inspired many of the names used in the series, the most notable being Tom Riddle, a.k.a Lord Voldemort. Then, we travelled north to the Highlands to ride the Jacobite Train, which was used as the Hogwarts Express in the “Harry Potter” films. It’s famous for its scenic route past Highland mountains and lakes, and the praise does not do justice to the stunning scenery. While we have to be cautious in planning future travel, we hope to go north again to see the Northern Lights this winter. While this isn’t the ideal time to be studying abroad, I believe it’s always important to seize experiences while we can—especially when we’re students. When I made the choice to go abroad, I asked myself: “When am I going to get another opportunity to live and study in Europe again, especially as I’m now a senior?” While I wish that I could be here under normal circumstances, I’m so thankful for all the special experiences this program has afforded me. Years from now I can look back and say I spent a semester abroad during a global pandemic—definitely a sentence I hope none of us will ever have to say again. And yet, carpe diem! Story by Hannah Calderazzo Design by Soumya Kona Photos by Hannah Calderazzo
CHADI RACHID The emergence of the coronavirus has caused a number of unprecedented changes in all of our lives, but there are some who have gone through more than others. Chadi Rachid, a first-year honors student at the University of Florida, is a perfect example of this. An international student from Morocco, Chadi first became interested in pursuing his college education at the University of Florida due to their competitive engineering program, the wide-ranging opportunities they offer and a desire to study within the US. Like any other, he was excited to begin his college experience while enjoying the last few months of high school to their most. Once the pandemic swept the world, however, Morocco closed its borders. The problem? Chadi was in Armenia during an international study internship. As a result, he ended up getting stranded in Armenia— without a way to get back home—for three months. This forced him to adapt. “I lived with some friends in the same situation in a guest house until we could go back home,” Chadi said. “I had to learn how to cook, how to manage a budget, how to manage and store food efficiently—all of this in a country where I don’t speak the language.” Finally, he was able to return home and eventually make the journey to America. He described the process as extremely long and
tiring, but once he got here he gained all his energy back. “Rabat to Casablanca to New York to Atlanta to Gainesville. Although it took two layovers and 30 hours to get here, it was worth it!” While the food and social culture are very different than in Morocco, he thinks it’s only a matter of time before he fully adapts to his new life. Despite his excitement to be a part of UF, Chadi says it is still frustrating that he doesn’t know when he will be able to see his family again. On top of that, it is a lot of pressure. “My family has sacrificed enough so that I can study here. It is up to me if it was in vain or not.” Chadi is majoring in mechanical engineering and is passionate about robotics, philosophy, and linguistics. “So far I love my new life. I somehow managed to meet people, get involved on campus and catch up with classes. It is challenging but I hope I’ll be able to keep up.”
ALEX THEOPHILOPULOS The 2020 presidential election is arguably one of the most critical events in history and is one that will play a significant role in the future of our country. Seeing as how the United States also has a major impact on the global system, it is also reasonable to say that this election will have effects on a worldwide scale. So how can you drive change within such an event? For Alex Theophilopulos, a first-year honors student at the University of Florida, the answer was easy: increase millennial and Gen Z voter turnout. It started with the pandemic. Although for most people this was a period of stress and struggle, Alex saw it as an opportunity to grow. The pandemic enabled him to focus completely on himself and what he really wanted, and thus he began a period of self-development. He started practicing tennis and lifting weights every day— losing a total of 15 pounds and entering a stage of extreme fitness as a result. “I am more confident in myself than I have ever been because of this,” Alex said. Due to the pandemic, Alex was also given an increase in time for recreation, and this is when he had an idea for how to increase voter turnout within millennials and Gen Z. The medium? TikTok, a social media app. Social media is one of the most dynamic marketing tools of this generation; through it, various ideas or products can be easily promoted. And that is when Alex made his post, which read, “Imagine if David Dobrik would do a Tesla giveaway and to enter all you have to do is prove you voted. Boom 100% gen z and millennial voter
participation.” Of course, he didn’t initially believe anything would actually h a p p e n . David Dobrik is a popular social media influencer with over 18 million followers who is especially known for his car giveaway videos. The chances of him seeing and responding to the post were minimal, but a few weeks later, David Dobrik sent a response: “Ok let’s do it!” Because of this post, over 120,000 people registered to vote in what Forbes says is the single largest voting drive within modern U.S. history. “Some things just feel surreal,” Alex said. “That was definitely one of them. Millions of people have seen my face and 120k people have registered to vote because of it.” He ends with a powerful message. “It just shows you how everything you do can matter—you just have to give it the means to.” Stories by Ronak Kanodia Design by Courtney Chalmers Photos by Veronika Schmalfuss
Zoom Although Zoom is commonplace now, in early March, many people had never heard about it before. Due to the need for social distancing, the platform became popular not only to help workplaces and schools continue but also to help family and friends communicate and stay in touch. People found creative ways to spend time together online which are still being used today.
Fostering Pets Early in the pandemic, animal shelters across the United States worked on finding homes for the animals they were housing. With everyone stuck at home, many people began to foster pets. Not only did some individuals find more time to take care of a pet thanks to quarantine, but some also found themselves wanting company while quarantining alone.
“Tiger King” On March 20th, Netflix released “Tiger King,” a documentary series revolving around the lives of those involved in the big cat industry. Most notably, the show focused on a man named Joe Exotic, a controversial figure in the commercial big cat industry, and Carole Baskin, another controversial figure who supports the protection of big cats. The show drew in many fans thanks to the various twists in the series and the eccentricity of the people involved.
a timeline TikTok has been a popular platform for a few years now; however, it has gained even more popularity since the beginning of the pandemic. The platform is made up of short videos, reminiscent of apps like Vine. Around August, the app was rumored to be shut down due to its connection with China. Still, the app survives and millions continue to use it.
Bread Baking Whether it is baking regular bread, banana bread, or sourdough (for the more adventurous), bread baking found its way into the lives of people with more free time than they knew what to do with. In mid-March, as many cities across the United States and around the world faced lockdowns, almost everyone seemed to find ways to relieve their stress through baking.
Also on March 20th, the Nintendo video game known as “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” was released. The game lets you establish and grow your own island with a variety of animal villagers. You can also visit islands that others have made. With all the restrictions placed on travel, this game continues to provide a virtual escape for many to this day.
Virtual Concerts In March, several artists cancelled their scheduled shows, sometimes months in advance. Due to the fact that live shows in public were now virtually impossible, they became possible virtually. Several organizations hosted concerts with a wide variety of musicians, and some artists held online shows themselves. For safety reasons, online concerts are still being hosted.
When the world radically changed in mid-March of this year, people developed new pastimes to keep sane and entertained while they had to stay inside their homes. As the months have passed, COVID-19 remains a very serious threat to people around the world; however, that has not put a stop to the creation of new popular trends. Here is a brief look back at a few trends that have become popular during quarantine:
Story by Gina Crespo Design by Emily Miller Illustrations by Emily Miller
Zoom Table Reads and Reunions Around May, virtual table reads and reunions over Zoom started appearing on YouTube. The casts of shows like Community or movies like Lord of the Rings filmed their own reunions to help entertain those stuck at home.
april Fluffy Coffee The “fluffy coffee” trend was born on TikTok. The beverage is more accurately known as Dalgona coffee, but the recipe has been around for years in places around the world such as India and Greece. The coffee is made by whipping together instant coffee, water, and sugar, and then pouring the mixture over milk.
july “Hamilton” A movie version of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” created by Lin-Manuel Miranda was released on Disney + on July 3. The release reanimated established fans and became even more popular, as it had been inaccessible for many around the world.
Among Us The video game known as “Among Us” has been around for a few years; however, it spiked in popularity in early September due to the fact that well-known Twitch streamers were playing the game. Simply put, “Among Us” is a mystery game set in space. The crewmates must complete tasks and try to find out who is an impostor.
october “The Mandalorian” The first episode of “The Mandalorian” season 2 was released on Disney + on October 30th. The show revolves around the journeys of a bounty hunter and his relationship with an alien known as “The Child.” Star Wars fans were excited for the return of Baby Yoda (The Child) and the continuation of the series.
Cottagecore The aesthetic known as “cottagecore” romanticizes the idea of living away from a city in a cottage. With all the uncertainty and hardship the world has faced, the idea of a simple life has become appealing. On July 24th, Taylor Swift released an album titled “folklore” which has been connected to the cottagecore aesthetic by fans.
Borat On October 23th, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was released on Amazon Prime. The movie is a mockumentary filled with jokes at the expense of politicians and popular figures in the United States.
Beque Holic Restaurant Review
Up until the day that I left for college, my dad basically begged my family to give the nearby Korean barbecue place a chance. Every time we dismissed his pleas, I neglected to think about how this style of food might actually be awesome. After trying Gainesville’s Beque Holic, located at 3812 W Newberry Rd, I found myself having to apologize to my dad for ever disparaging that cuisine. First and foremost, the actual style of meal preparation at a Korean barbecue restaurant is distinctly wonderful. Similarly to how the Melting Pot works, a single burner at the table is used by customers to cook a variety of interestingly prepared menu items. Walking into the restaurant, one is immediately hooked by the aromas of sizzling beef, chicken, seafood and pork coming from the refined, silver burners in the center of each spacious booth. Once we were seated, our waiter informed us that we could either order individual items off of the a la carte menu, commit to a $50 or $100 “combo special,” or pay $27 for “All You Can Eat” (AYCE)— the obvious choice. After splurging on the AYCE package with a group of five friends, we were confronted with the struggle to eat as much of the delicious meat as possible
before the establishment closed that night. For around two and a half hours, our table took full advantage of the AYEC C package and tried just about every main and side dish on their menu. Some of the more delicious highlights of the night included the pork belly, beef bulgogi, brisket, and beef jumullug—a thinly sliced, marinated preparation of the meat. Throughout the meal, we were continually served sides of white rice, steamed egg, pork dumplings, and various seasonings and toppings for the meat. I finished the meal with a perfect serving of fried ice cream. Taking everything into consideration, I would highly recommend Beque Holic to an experimental eater with a passion for cooking and a desire for variety in taste and texture in foods. While the prices of the AYCE option and combo specials might seem daunting, I would argue that everyone in the Gainesville area should splurge at least once at this restaurant. The staff is friendly, and the food is good—and endless. What more could you want? Story by Noah Towbin Design by Courtney Chalmers Photos by Emma Bissell
Gen Z: Connected Through In March 2020, pandemic shutdowns and quarantine measures came together to give TikTok, a video-sharing social media app, an immense boost in popularity. As COVID-19 cases increased , so did the number of TikTok users; people who had previously dismissed this app as a fount for cringey dances now had sufficient time to scope it out and see what it was all about. I, along with many other people, have changed my mind concerning the legitimacy of TikTok as a useful form of social media. TikTok has evolved into a social media platform that is not only for sharing viral dances, but also for creating political awareness and solidarity, especially among members of Generation Z. Generation Z is generally thought to be comprised of those born between 1997 and 2012. This group is characterized by lack of memory of the 9/11 attacks, strong diversity and growing up during the boom of technology and social media. Online schooling has allowed for these teens and young adults to have more time to use on social media, and TikTok is their most-used app by a landslide. According to Forbes, Gen Z makes up over 60 percent of its users. Gen Z has fully influenced the growth of TikTok, just as millennials influenced the growth of Instagram and Facebook. It is important to note the distinction between these two generations, and between TikTok and other social media platforms. Gen Z is arguably the most diverse, politically and socially aware, and tech-savvy generation the world has ever seen. It is only fitting that they should claim TikTok as their social media platform of choice. The app has revolutionized social media, not only permitting users to post things for their friends to see, but also allowing for their posts to reach a wider audience through an algorithm called the “For You” page. TikTok’s algorithm is scarily accurate, capable of curating a page of videos specifically tailored to each user’s interests. TikTok has given Gen Z a platform to connect on basically anything, which has been invariably essential to soothing the overwhelming sense of loneliness that has come with pandemic-related isolation. I talked to three students at the University of Florida, and the appreciation for TikTok was unanimous. Kelly Kisida, 20, discussed how two teens with One Direction fan accounts met and formed a relationship because of their common interest in the band. Juliana Giraldo, 20, affirmed that TikTok is useful for finding people who have similar interests as you. Guadalupe Diaz, 18, said, “People are constantly cheering others up & supporting many important causes.” In my experience, I have seen TikTok users encouraging each other to vote, giving each other tips for overcoming eating disorders, and raising awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. One of the most heartwarming things I have ever witnessed on the app was when a young girl made a post about how she threw a birthday party and no one went; the video went viral and over 100,000 users commented that they wanted to have a Zoom party with her to celebrate her birthday. For many young people, it can be life-changing to know that they are not alone; TikTok has proven to be a catalyst for a needed sense of community among teens and young adults in a time of social distancing. Story by Daniella Conde Artwork by Tiffany Liu Design by Erin McLoughlin
It ended on March 11th, 2020. The life I once knew. The evening sun painted the world around me in a smoky orange hue as I strolled over to the local bowling alley with a spring in my step. Even the mask I was wearing couldn’t hide my excitement, as I couldn’t wait to meet four of my closest high school friends for the first time in six months! Within seconds of walking inside the building, I was bombarded with jubilant cries from my friends Olivia, Violet, Ian, and Dylan. “Corey is finally here!” I grinned in response. “Hope I didn’t keep you guys waiting too long.” We quickly got a lane and sat down, and I smiled at the refreshing sight of our group back together once again. A peaceful lull gradually enveloped us as we chatted and bowled, scoring spare after spare, or in Ian’s case, gutter after gutter. “How is it fair that you guys get 10s and 9s… while I can’t even hit the pins?” Ian muttered in exasperation to himself before pulling out his phone, determined to discover the secret to bowling. It was Dylan’s turn to bowl, but just as he got up, Ian’s face suddenly grew pale. “Guys… you have to check this out.” He tilted his phone in our direction and the alert on it made my blood freeze. No… No way. How did they get in? Violet read it in a hushed whisper. “The Unmasked are here…? Are you sure this isn’t a joke?” Her voice trembled as she spoke. As if in response, a loud reverb echoed throughout the area as a metal grate was lowered in front of the only door to the building. All the TVs hung above the lanes suddenly showed static as the manager on duty walked forward and gathered our attention. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he began, “We have a problem. We have determined that the safest course of action is to barricade the building and stay inside until it is safe. Nothing can come in, and no one can go out.” A voice pitched back to him. “You can’t do that! If I want to leave, I should be able to! What’s the problem anyway?” A couple of other voices could be heard agreeing with the statement and the manager let out a heavy sigh before quelling the dissenters with a few potent words. “The Unmasked have infiltrated our city.” There was a brief silence before the entire room erupted into panicked whispers, but some groups like ours remained silent, still in shock from the sudden announcement. The manager continued to speak. “In the meantime, all food items are available for free. Thank you for your patience.” Hours seemed to pass as the five of us huddled up, reminiscing about the good times while devouring stale pizza and uncarbonated soda. All of a sudden, Olivia’s eyes grew watery. “How do you think our families are doing?”
None of us had the heart to answer that question truthfully. Even though we had each repeatedly tried to contact them, no one had responded. The Unmasked were unrelenting in their mad drive to spread their infection before they perished, but it was rare for them to be able to overwhelm the army and enter the city. Their greatest weapon was their breath, and if they could come close enough, it was game over. A single breath could infect someone, either causing instant death or an even worse fate: becoming an Unmasked. Yet typically the army was able to fend them off, so what had changed? As I was about to reassure Olivia despite my despair, a sudden piercing scream shook the air. “AN UNMASKED!” The five of us leapt to our feet, and as soon as I saw the cause of the scream my complexion went pallid. The Unmasked traditionally traveled in packs of around seven, but entering the bowling alley was a horde of at least twenty, if not more. “HOW DID THEY GET IN?” Dylan screamed, launching a bowling ball towards an Unmasked approaching us. Ian pointed a shaking finger at the roof of the building, where a panel was loose. “The vents… they entered through the vents!” As if to prove his point, another Unmasked fell from the vent. We were already sprinting to the grate covering the door, hoping we would be able to escape through there, but what we saw beyond the door was terrifying. An entire legion of the Unmasked stood outside patiently, as if predicting what we would do, and suddenly I knew how the army was overwhelmed. Were they always this intelligent… and when did so many appear at once? As we turned around and saw the chaos inside, I knew it. We were trapped, and there was nothing else we could do. This was it. As the Unmasked approached us steadily with a carnal rage in their eyes, I threw a final grin at my friends, a useless gesture considering we were all wearing masks. A breath… and then darkness…. …My eyes slowly opened, and a spark of insanity could be seen igniting within them. I stood up and glanced at my pack. My pack of four. “Hope I didn’t keep you guys waiting too long,” I say with a smile, and I see them smile back. Olivia, Violet, Ian, and Dylan all followed me as I walked under the blazing sun, and, around us, thousands of the Unmasked swarmed like ants. It started on March 11th, 2020. My new life as an Unmasked. Story by Ronak Kanodia Design by Erin McLoughlin Illustration by Cambell Lackey
Ohmu’s Symbiosis He gripped his dagger’s coarse hilt, studying his sanguine, tinged reflection through the lingering bits of bone left on the blade. The jagged edge cut off the image at its neck, as the man’s small boat swayed to the soft rhythm of the waves. He turned his attention to the sea in front of him. At the horizon, dark waters met a pale sky under the cover of a light mist. The man sighed laboriously, stirring up the otherwise-still air around him. The calm of his surroundings enticed his mind to wander, but he fought off the idling thoughts clambering onto his shoulders and grabbed his well-worn net. Fishing was sure to keep their tentacles at bay, at least for now. He threw the net into the sea and scanned for the faintest hint of sea life that was unfortunate enough to fall into its grasp. In just moments, the sea offered a handful of mackerel that the man snatched up without a second thought. He studied each of the four fish. There were three females, two of which were relatively young, while the male was a fully grown adult. He carefully sliced the fish, dividing the parts that were safe to eat into three separate piles. If he rationed properly, this would be enough to last him three days. Yet, with each stroke of his blade, his stomach yearned for more. Saliva began to fill his mouth. His fingers tensed up in anticipation. As the seconds ticked by, more and more fish seemed to gather by the boat. At this, he discarded the notion of rations. He repeatedly cast his net into the salty waters, capturing enough prey to engorge his former family. The three piles turned to five, then ten, then twenty. His mania only halted once his net had been torn from his grip and lost to the deep blue below. He muttered a curse under his breath and fell back in defeat. Upon slamming against the side of the boat, his chest jerked forward, and he began to cough violently. His lungs, lined with sulfur, desperately expelled air as he scrambled to the side of the boat. He reached down into the water for some sort of aid, but as he stretched forward, the sea curled
away. The sea had gone silent, only moving to refuse the man. Hints of black dust stained the air in front of him, reminding him of the life that was taken away from him. He thought about the miners pressing ever deep into the earthen core in search of riches to push the town forward. He thought of the explosion that rocked the ground he stood on, the fires that claimed the lives of his two daughters, and the smog that suffocated his wife. Perhaps it was his time to join them. But his coughing slowed, and he steadily regained his bearings. This, however, did not come without a price. His mind was fully consumed with the events leading to his situation. He contemplated all of the ways he may have been able to save his family or how such a tragedy could have been prevented. His eyes unfocused, and everything became an incoherent blur. Everything, except the dagger that lay by his feet. It reflected a light glimmer into his eyes, and he traced its edge with his finger. His finger grazed the splintering wood and stopped just sort of the pilfered fish. He looked upon the lifeless amalgamation. He looked away and gulped. Then, throwing his whole weight into the pile, the corpses flew back into the ocean. Water splashed onto his face, dripping down from his eyebrows. Next, he launched the dagger behind him. It soared through the air until it was swallowed by the low-hanging fog. Thunder cracked as it left his hands. As clouds began to form above him, he shook his head. “Not again,” he proclaimed. He hung his legs over the enigma below, took one final breath, and dove. And as the raindrops began to tap against the ocean’s face, its familiar dance was restored. Albeit, with an ever so slightly unique cadence. Story by Derek Pena Design by Erin McLoughlin Illustration by Nikita Patel
Poem by Noah Towbin Design by Erin McLoughlin Illustration by Grace Dooley
Falling Driving over waters decorated with waste, filled with fish suspended in synthetic sludge, I prepare for the burn of fluorescent lights. Exhaust rises like ash from a white Jeep with a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Save the Earthâ&#x20AC;? bumper sticker. The cloud floats above concrete structures and the branches of invasive Australian pine. On brand-new broken projectors, the spire crumbles. The fiery pixels smell like Brazilian mahogany burning. My lips release a smoky gasp and fear pushes through my throat: like the act of placing a delicate plate on an edge, ignoring it until the inevitable.
Poem by Gina Crespo Design by Erin McLoughlin Illustration by Campbell Lackey
whispers The days are bleeding into One long blur. If you look close enough, You can see the seconds slipping by In the slow drip of the candle’s collapse, In the creeping gait of shifting shadows, In the flow of ink from pen pressed to page, Time treads on. There’s too much of it. I feel diluted in this pool of silence With no end in sight I slowly sink Until I lay on the river’s bed Watching the stream overhead Its gentle current tugs at me, But the sheer mass of it presses me flat. All I can do is stare As I quietly drown in the daze of days.
poem 23 My grandad used to tell me That freckles were butterfly kisses And now when I see Their delicate dance in my garden, I know he’s visiting me. I see him in my mother’s eyes As they light up in awe of the world. I hear him in my brother’s hands As they pour across the strings. I feel him in my father’s arms, Strong and steady and true. And I sense him in my sister’s spirit, Stubborn, yet loyal and free. His wit is with me everywhere, In all the stories I tell. As butterflies flit, my heart soars. He’s here and all is well. Poems by Sarah Mellinger Design by Soumya Kona Illustration by Soumya Kona
You may have everyone else fooled, but not me. I bore witness to how the world bent around You; I thought it eternally rigid, yet You stand a Testament to its malleability. Only the divine can do what You do, And You don’t need seven days like the rest. When I went out on the morning we met, I was the sight that made eyes sore, My shirt more wrinkled than smooth, my hair a billowing mass of defeat. Upon my return, I found myself a dignified creature Whose locks trailed in my wake like seeds from a dandelion And whose clothes were reminiscent of the weathered robes of Angels; I looked like Your hand on my shoulder, like You laughing at something I said. That was some fine trickery on Your part. We stepped in a puddle during Our stroll. My boots still have the splattered trophy to show for it. I’ve been cautioned about Temptations like You, The Ones who draw your focus away from the ills of the world. I forgot to be irritated about mud and mosquitos, The car that barreled by looked as gentle as the freckles crinkling on Your cheeksNothing is a nuisance when You tell me about Your day. I could have sworn I read about You in some ancient Script, A stiff paper-grave of lost worship gawked at by nonbelievers. I imagined something more of a bygone relic, thoughA prismatic vision of Wings or Scepters or Robes straight from a delusion. I thought You’d send me on some quest to kill in Your name, Yet when We met, all You wanted was my story. No mere omnipotence can equal Your friendship.
ALL SILVER LININGS
I gladly surrender to Your grace, for what else is a simple being to do? Yours is a greater power than the might of hurricanes and scourging of plagues: In the face of catastrophes unseen in eras, You’ve resigned me to peace. Rainy days used to be the culprits of cancellations most devilish; Now they’re an excuse to think of the day You Commanded, “Can I walk with you?” Poem by Holly Smith Design by Soumya Kona
Cover by Grace Dooley