Finding Happiness

To say quarantine has been easy would be a lie. I have struggled finding motivation, getting work in on time, and struggled to remember what day it was. I realized last minute there were things I misread or forgot to check and I’m cramming in a bunch of work on the final day. Completely my fault, but an honest mistake. I thought I had everything in check for the WRT class, checked the schedule, and said to myself “Oh crap. I haven’t been keeping track of my work on the spreadsheet AND I would’ve forgot to hand the portfolio in on time.” So, here I am last minute getting that done. Luckily I noticed it before it was too late because it can get completed.

As this semester finishes up, I am finding relief and happiness that there won’t be assignments due, I won’t have to stress over making sure I didn’t forget to hand in something for one class, and overall, I can actually relax! I notice I work better at school than I do at home; being at school for hours and sitting in Barnes and Noble forces me to get work done. I would sit on break in between classes, grab a coffee, and get assignments done for multiple classes. I enjoyed the atmosphere at Rowan and the smell of coffee being brewed.

At home, I have my bed, which is super comfortable and it makes it hard to leave. I stumble downstairs at whatever time I decide to make an appearance, whether it’s 9am or 1pm, and make myself a cup of coffee…It’s not the same as it was at school, but it works. Being cooped up for over a month has been quite interesting. It’s either super quiet because my dad is in a meeting for work, it’s noisy because my parents are Zooming with family members, or it’s noisy because my parents have the TV volume on max.

I am grateful my professors won’t have to hear my dog barking anymore, too. I’d always have to mute myself because she would see a squirrel and decide it was a good time to bark and act crazy during my Zoom meetings.

I realize, though, these are the things that make me happy. The smell of coffee, the outdoors, my parents, and my dog– not exactly in that order. I’m home with all of the things that make me happy, even if it isn’t at school. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m happy school is almost done, but I now have to find a distraction that will make time go by fast the way classes did during this quarantine.

At the same time though, I am sure seniors graduating this semester might not be as happy since their senior year did not end as expected, and my heart goes out to those facing that issue at this time. I know I would be upset if I was graduating this semester and as far as I know, I could be in the same boat in December if everything remains the same. I’m trying to look on the bright side and if I can’t graduate the way I’m supposed to in December, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll know that I received my Bachelors Degree and will be moving on to receive my Masters Degree. This semester has been absolutely crazy and seniors graduating should be super proud of themselves for getting through this even if things aren’t working out in their favor.

The Little Things

Throughout this quarantine, I haven’t had much to look forward to, like most people. Sure, I can go to Chick-Fil-A like I normally do, but the process is much different than usual and of course I can’t bring a friend with me to pig out on fast food due to social distancing. I’m starting to miss the little things that I was able to do before, but can’t do now. I’m missing simple car rides with loved ones or friends. I’m regretting ever telling my friends “no” to a movie night because I was too tired or “no” to grabbing Taco Bell with them late at night.

The ice cream place up the street from me finally opened up after being closed for a while due to COVID-19. I can’t express in words how excited I was, but I never thought I’d be so thrilled like a child for an ice cream place to open up. Of course I will wear a mask and keep a safe distance, but I’m so happy I have something to look forward to once in a while. I think seeing things starting to open up is leaving me feeling iffy. I’m happy things are going back to a somewhat normal way, but I also think it’s a little soon for certain places to be opening to the public. I think for now beaches should stay closed, but small businesses can slowly start opening one step at a time.

For now, all we can do is stay safe and appreciate the things we had before, but no longer have access to for the time being. I can’t wait to go on random adventures with my friends again and to see all of my family members.

Scary Issue Next Door

Trying to adjust to everything happening in the world has been very difficult. My neighbor and her husband used to come over and sit on our patio with my parents and me while we watched their children play. My nephews and niece would come over to play with my neighbor’s children and they would be outside for hours. The adults would sit and laugh, glass of wine or beer in hand, enjoying the nice weather together. We can’t do that anymore. The most we can do now is say hi from our yards or talk at the fence while keeping a distance. My nephews and niece can’t come over to play anymore.

Two weeks ago, I sat outside to do my homework and smiled as I heard my neighbor’s kids playing together outside. A day later my neighbor’s ten year old son was suddenly rushed to the hospital. What’s going on? Is he okay? Did he get the coronavirus? He was just outside playing yesterday and he seemed okay! So many thoughts were going through my head. My mom informed me that he went into diabetic shock. My neighbor was unaware that he had diabetes and she watched as her son struggled to stand on his own.

All I could do was just sit and feel sorry for my neighbor and her husband. She has been helping her kids with their online school, trying to keep them entertained, and trying to keep herself sane during this outbreak. The last thing she needs is a hospital visit with her little boy. Her anxiety was filled because she was in a hospital with COVID-19 patients and the last thing she wanted to do was bring that home to her other children. I began to put my problems aside and realize I really don’t have it that bad right now. Sure, I’m not receiving my unemployment checks and I haven’t had a paycheck since March 27th, but do I have a roof over my head? Yes. Am I starving? No. Am I healthy? Yes. Are the people in my household healthy? Yes. Do I have to worry about taking care of a child and their work on top of my own? No. Do I have it bad at all? Absolutely NOT.

My neighbors spent their Easter in the hospital with their son and they took their two other children to their grandmother’s house in Mount Pocono, PA, because that’s the closest family they have around. The next day, I had an urge for Chick-Fil-A and asked my neighbor if she and her husband wanted anything. “No that’s ok, we’re not home, we are at the hospital,” she replied. I decided to grab two sandwiches for them just in case. Luckily, when I got home with the food, my neighbor pulled up as well and her son was home. I knew she wasn’t going to have time to make dinner and I assumed they never found time to eat that day. I handed them the bag of food I picked up for them. Later that night, I dropped off carrot cake cupcakes and little Easter toys for the kids that my parents bought so they could enjoy a bit of their Easter.

My neighbor said that the doctor told her it was a good thing she brought her son to the hospital when they did because he would’ve died if they waited any longer. He is home, they brought his sugar down, and they collectively learned how to give their son the insulin shots each day. While my neighbors are adjusting to their new norm, I am staying grateful for what I have and I’m no longer complaining about the little things during this time. Instead of complaining about my problems, I need to be grateful for the problems that I don’t have.

My Sleep Schedule Sucks!

Now that I am home 24/7 instead of working and going to school, I can’t seem to get my sleep schedule on track. I’m in bed no later than 11:45pm, but I’m not shutting my eyes until 4am, 6am, or at all. On a normal day, I was going to bed by 1am, waking up at 7am for work, or at 8:30am for school. I have tried setting an alarm for 9am, but I sleep through it and I’m absolutely exhausted if I do hear it going off. I took melatonin the other night and fell asleep at midnight, but was awoken from a bad storm at 2:30am. Maybe I can try the melatonin again and get myself into a routine. I’d ideally like to be awake before 10am to make a good breakfast, enjoy the morning for some time, get work done, and have the rest of the day to relax and not stress about deadlines. It’s possible to do and I have been trying every night, but it will take time for sure. I see other people awake on social media and feel relieved that I’m not the only one, but who’s to say they’re sleeping all day?

Fact Check #3

“Genetic susceptibility influences the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer” News-Medical

Readers might encounter this text by browsing the internet, especially News-Medical, or by seeing it shared by someone on social media. I found this post by searching for recent studies on Google. “Radiation from cell phones is associated with higher rates of thyroid cancer among people with genetic variations in specific genes, a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.” Is the radiation from cell phones actually associated with thyroid cancer?

After searching on Snopes for “thyroid cancer,” I wasn’t able to find anything besides patients requesting thyroid guards to prevent thyroid cancer during x-rays. Politifact didn’t have anything on the situation, either. The claim in the article is that “Cell phone users with SNPs in four of the genes studied were more than two times likely to develop cancer. The researchers examined a total of 176 genes and identified 10 SNPs that appear to increase the risk of thyroid cancer among cell phone users” (Sciencedaily). There are multiple articles online that aren’t necessarily CNN or Fox, so my guess about this claim is that it is false. “According to the American Cancer Society’s most recent report, there were nearly 53,000 new cases of thyroid cancer in the United States, resulting in 2,180 deaths. Thyroid cancer is three times more common in women and is diagnosed at a younger age than most other cancers” (Sciencedaily).

Clinical OMICs claims that cell phone radiation is linked to thyroid cancer, as well. “Cell phone users with SNPs in four of the genes studied were more than two times more likely to develop cancer. Overall, the researchers found 10 SNPs that appear to increase the risk of thyroid cancer among cell phone users” (Clinical OMICs). Clinical OMICs made the same claim that Sciencedaily did. Their sentences are almost word for word. This leads me to believe that some sources are taking information from other sources and making their own articles based off of information they read.

After searching Facebook, BioNews Central posted an article stating “Study links thyroid cancer, genetic variations, and cell phone use.” Yet again, the sentences from Sciencedaily and Clinical OMICs is used. “Cell phone users with SNPs in four of the genes studied were more than two times likely to develop cancer. The researchers examined a total of 176 genes and identified 10 SNPs that appear to increase the risk of thyroid cancer among cell phone users” (BioNews). I’m finding repeats throughout my searches, but none of them are reliable sources.

Fact Check #2

Thailand Mass Shooting

Readers might encounter this text by reading The New York Times, using social media, or looking online and coming across it. To find this article, I searched for mass shootings on Google. The statement of fact I am checking is “The gunman operated in a military whose officers often have outside businesses and take advantage of lower-ranking soldiers. He killed 29 people, the worst shooting in recent Thai history.”

Was this the worst shooting in recent Thai history? For Move One, I searched fact-checking sites and Wikipedia for previous work. Cited in Snopes, “Gun violence is not unheard of in Thailand. Firearms can be obtained legally, and many Thais own guns. Mass shootings are rare, though there are occasional gun battles in the far south of the country, where authorities have for years battled a long-running separatist insurgency.” The mass shooting is cited in Snopes from February 8, 2020. The article goes on to talk about the amount of people killed and injured, along with the motive for the gunman’s outburst.

Wikipedia includes a paragraph based on the mass shooting in Thailand: “On the way to the shopping mall, he also fired at several people on the road and at Wat Pa Sattha Ruam, a Buddhist temple. During the attack, the suspect posted updates and shared a live stream on his Facebook account. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Thailand’s history.” On Wikipedia, there is a section for “List of massacres in Thailand.” After clicking this page, I came across the previous massacres that have taken place in Thailand. In 1973, there were 71 deaths; in 1976, there were 46 deaths; 1992, 52 deaths; 2004, 32 deaths; late 2004, 85 deaths; 2010, 87 deaths; late 2019, 15 deaths; and 2020, 30 deaths.

Seeing that the highest number of deaths is 87 in a 2010 Thai Military Crackdown, I took a look at that massacre. More than 2,000 people were injured. The perpetrators were: Royal Thai Army and Royal Thai Government. After trying to search on Snopes and PolitiFact, I was unsuccessful with finding the 2010 Thai Military Crackdown. Assuming that the mass shooting rate in Thailand being 87 isn’t entirely accurate, since I can’t find much information on the crackdown, I believe the statement for the 2020 shooting to be the worst one in Thai history to be true. While there were a lot of shootings that took place in Thailand, the most recent mass shooting has the most deaths by just one mass shooter.

The gunman had a motive after a dispute on an army base and killed his superior officer. After going to the largest popular mall in the city, he gunned down many more. After going upstream, there weren’t articles on Snopes or Politifact about the previous Thailand mass shootings. The only proven article found was the most recent mass shooting in February 2020.

Fact Check #1

According to FactCheck, Clinton told the FBI that she was unaware of the emails that were deleted in March 2015. James Comes, the FBI Director, commented by saying Clinton and her staff were careless when it came to dealing with classified information.

After taking a look at Wikipedia, I came across a “Deletion of emails” tab. “After the existence of the server became publicly known on March 2, 2015, the Select Committee on Benghazi issued a subpoena for Benghazi-related emails two days later” (Wikipedia). Clinton blames her aids on the deletion of emails, claiming that it was “an expensive process.”

Donald Trump was sure to share a few words about the incident, of course. “Look at the crimes that Clinton did with the emails and she deletes 33,000 emails after she gets subpoena from Congress, and this Justice Department does nothing about it?” (Factbase)

What did I type in on Google? “Hillary Clinton 30000 emails

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