Category: In Our View

OPINION: Internships, more hurt by COVID-19

OPINION: Internships, more hurt by COVID-19

By Tomas Cruz
Bridge Marketing Director
Published Monday, May 11, 2020

The Spring 2020 semester rapidly became one of the toughest semesters for many students’ academic journey at TAMIU. The coronavirus pandemic impacted not only our university, but the rest of the world.

As a Texas A&M International University senior, I faced many bumps on the road to finish my degree. This spring semester I was interning at a marketing/advertising agency for my COMM 4350 Internship course.

Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, many interns faced issues with internship locations closing and not being able to complete their hours. While some of us were able to work remotely, many others were unfortunately not able to return to their internship because numerous businesses temporarily closed. This prevented students from trying to put their academic skills into the work environment face-to-face and frightened those of us seniors looking at the job market after graduation. 

As a former student employee of the A.R. Sanchez School of Business Dean’s office, it was unfortunate I was not able to physically be there at work my last days. I would like to recognize the entire college for allowing me to work all four years of my academic journey, everyone was very nice and helpful to one another. I would also like to recognize the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade for allowing me to photograph their speaker series events and conferences.

Like many employees once the lock-down began, I had to work remotely from home and finish all my tasks from work, school and my internship. Even The Bridge student newspaper transitioned into more of an online publication. While it was a new and difficult situation for many, we are finally here at the end of the semester. I can officially say I received my bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in marketing. Although, it does not feel like it yet. Sadly, every graduate was supposed to walk across the stage this May, but commencement was postponed until August.

The cancellation of everything saddens most individuals. Commencement, internships, jobs, traveling and more, suffered cancellations due to this pandemic. However, life must go on and everyone should think positive. Many people’s lives are at risk right now and the best we can do is be glad we are alive and remain safe. Although we weren’t able to walk the stage this May, we will hopefully walk in August. For now, my only wish is for all TAMIU and everyone in this world to get through these tough times taking precautions and staying safe. 

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OPINION: Following an amazing editor

OPINION: Following an amazing editor

EDITOR’S VIEW
By David Gomez Jr.

Editor-in-chief
Published Monday, May 4, 2020

I, David Gomez Jr., am the latest editor-in-chief of The Bridge student newspaper at TAMIU. Many of you who have already seen my articles and editorials knew I had some great big shoes to fill.

David Gomez Jr.
Editor-in-chief

Matt, the editor-in-chief before me, was a shining example of what it took to run a campus student newspaper. He had the will, the fortitude, the social skills and the natural talent to find a story. Among our own reporters, photographers and editors, he is talked about fondly and they reminisce of his managing and straightforward advice. He was absolutely one of a kind.

“I remember when Matt would…,” someone in The Bridge staff would say as I was about to suggest a story or angle. Like I said before, I had big shoes to fill, and over time it was getting annoying. Not because of the staff, but because I, ME, would start to ask myself, “What would Matt do?”

So, on my own by the March issue, I felt overwhelmed and low. I would feel small in comparison to my old editor. I would add even more added pressure to my already heavy work and course load of daily activities. My mind would wander off into the Mac monitor in our shared Bridge office in Pellegrino Hall. YouTube and how-to videos would help me further learn the building blocks of how to lead a student-ran paper.

Of course, before I took the editor-in-chief position, Matt and Assistant Professional Thomas R. Brown, my faculty adviser for the paper, would teach me the basics and help me edit along so I could get the hang of it all. Even with their advice and hands-on learning techniques, I still felt as if I was going skydiving without a parachute.

Though, the funny thing about skydiving is, you cannot jump out of the plane before passing the four-hour training session, on the ground—before even boarding the plane. So there I was in February, sitting inside The Bridge office, skydiving headfirst into articles without sources or quotes. I remembered teachings on how to get out of such a situation. The first thing you must remember is: you do have a parachute and that you do know what to do yet the mind goes blank the moment after jumping.

So again, sitting in front of that Mac monitor inside that office, I would slowly start to recollect all the things previously processed, add it to the articles and ask myself some questions: What’s a good headline? What information do the readers want to know? How can I make the newspaper be read even more?

Up until mid-March, things were looking up, but then, the coronavirus took over our articles for the rest of the semester. Including our Bridge office that contained our software to edit our stories and design the whole paper.

So far, my single semester as editor-in-chief proved to be a challenging experience, but also a rewarding one. I could not have asked for better mentors, or staff, to keep me from destroying The Bridge. I can hardly wait for what I will write about next semester.

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OPINION: Being essential these days

OPINION: Being essential these days

EDITOR’S POINT of VIEW
By David Gomez Jr.
Editor-in-chief
Published Monday, April 20, 2020

The coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, causes the disease COVID-19. The ‘rona, as some people are calling it, came fast and deadly. It added pressure to an already fragile economy.

At the front lines of keeping the economy afloat, other than the medical, grocery store clerks, farmers and janitorial staff who deserve so much praise, are also the other “essential” businesses.

I am currently one of those essential workers.

David Gomez Jr.

I work in a hardware store, yet it doesn’t feel essential. I recently went from a part-time to a full-time employee. Nowadays, the type of customers who come into the store are those tired of being at home. It used to be just the casual, usual handyperson customers. Now, they look around and “shop” for the things they need or other things because they found time for their DIY projects.

Though, I am torn down the middle. My first reaction is, “stay at home,” and my second thought is, “I’d go out anywhere if I were stuck in my home and couldn’t handle myself for days in a row doing nothing.”

Times are difficult and as much as we’d like to go out as it were before March 16, we cannot.

Working in an essential field, I feel grateful, but exhausted. Lines stretch out in front of the store. Asking an impatient customer to wait is like telling a river to stop flowing. Those kinds of people want to see you as miserable as they are, but the truth of the matter is that we are miserable, too. At least I know I am.

Tired. Exhausted. Running on three to five hours of sleep a day because college online classes make things even more tiresome. Lethargy sets in and I am suddenly behind. 

“Maybe things will be better if I quit my job,” I think to myself or, “leave The Bridge altogether. I mean, we’re almost at the end of the semester and have switched to online now. No one will read it.”

These are my thoughts when things get difficult. And they have been difficult, but it’s also the only way to show my true character. I don’t want to be known as a quitter.

When I was younger, I was known to give up on many things. I’m not like that anymore. The idea of dropping everything seems like a relief but I am my harshest critic who will criticize every decision ever made. I know for certain I will never forgive myself if I chose to drop it all.

This is not only a test of my own will, but to everyone who is essential and continues to work till their head is pounding. Requests by management to disinfect the area, keep a head count of customers inside the store, make sure I’m wearing protective gear, restock the new materials received, help customer with their needs and my personal favorite, short staffed because my coworker was exposed to the virus and might have it—so they will be quarantined until their results come in.

I wouldn’t wish this virus on my enemies but it all adds up, takes a toll and makes one quite agitated and frustrated.

This is a test of patience for everyone. And no one can cheat off someone else this time. Everyone must keep their head down and give it their all—even from a couch. Take care of yourselves and each other.

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OPINION: Time on our hands

OPINION: Time on our hands

Allison Villareal | Special to The Bridge

ARTIST’S STATEMENT
By Allison Villareal

Bridge contributing illustrator
Published Monday, April 20, 2020

For this concept, I intended to use variety, contrast and movement to demonstrate the overwhelming and uneasy feelings that can be experienced when having too many things in our hands.

I used variety by having hands of many sizes holding different objects that represent time, relationships, health, financial issues, chores, education, entertainment and self care. I used contrast to highlight the dark pressures and stress that can be behind each responsibility that is being held. I used movement to express the variety of weight each hand is carrying.

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OPINION: Let’s revitalize Laredo by focusing on change

OPINION: Let’s revitalize Laredo by focusing on change

STAFF POINT of VIEW
By Shelley Rodriguez

Bridge Staff Writer
Published March 30, 2020

There is an unintentional line frequently said by children and teens all throughout Laredo.

We hear it, think it and most probably even say it at least once in our lifetime if we’ve lived here: “I’m going to leave Laredo.” Some variation of that line passed down generation-to-generation to the point where we’re not even surprised when we hear it any-more.

Shelley Rodriguez

There’s something about this lovely city that makes its own residents want to leave time-and-time again. Al-though it’s easy to point out this town’s flaws, it is still no better to leave it the way it is as opposed to staying and implementing change. To put it simply, leaving Laredo doesn’t help. If anything, wanting to leave is the least favorable choice for everyone involved.

I won’t go ahead and turn a blind eye to all the faults this small town has be-cause that, in itself, would be irresponsible as well as overdone. If I were to be honest with myself, there’s nothing this town really has to offer besides a place of comfort to “Latinx” folks as well as over-bearing heat; however, there’s one quote that’s stuck with me ever since a local teacher told me: “Laredo isn’t great because all the best people leave and never come back to share what they’ve learned from the outside.”

What happens when we leave is actually a tragedy, if we think about it. We leave the desert in search of water and once we find it, instead of going back to share it with the ones who stayed behind, we remain at the oasis.

Leaving Laredo only keeps the city in its echo chamber with no challenge for it to grow. We offer no new elements and just leave the city the way it was unless we stay or return to offer new ideas. I’m not saying we have an obligation to become city mayors or any other political figure, but what I am saying is that we have no room to criticize when none of us are willing to take the challenge to make the city as great as others of its type.

Those others started off the way we did: lame, boring and small, as everything in life does. What actually makes something blossom into something more profound? Perhaps dedication, time and effort could help. We can find influences in other cities, while adding our unique take on it.

As many of you read this, I believe you may have sense of naivety to my “proposal” or take on this notion, but I do not feel I am alone in this. This city has a population of more than 250,000 yet treats itself like a small town. We choose to not treat it like it is more. Laredo must grow, along with the Laredoan mentality, which I believe should be tweaked.

I admire the volunteers, the down-town scene that is slowly changing by embracing the local culture, the baby steps it seems to be taking and I hope the message gets across. Laredo has potential. We can make history but, perhaps, we are stunned by fear or it taking too much work to even think about making a push from the inside.

I believe, instead of setting the goal to leave Laredo, we should change it to “I’m going to change Laredo.”

It’s just a thought.

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OPINION: Lessons aren’t just learned in class

OPINION: Lessons aren’t just learned in class

EDITOR’S POINT of VIEW
By David Gomez Jr.

Editor-in-chief
Published March 30, 2020

Two shows left their mark on my psyche—and for the better—because I learned so much from them, especially about growing up.

College life, they say, is some of the best years in your life. They also say those memories of mediocre food and “freedom,” are the best days anyone can ever experience in their life.

David Gomez Jr.

As of now, many people are enjoying their college life. This consists of meeting new people, stimulating the brain conversing with others taking the same courses and, of course, partying.

These days, though, it is still practiced but most connections now start off by asking, “What shows do you watch?”

An honest, straight-to-the-point question, which the people I referred to as “they” earlier may have asked in their days, “What are you reading?” to spark interest in or upon their crush.

“What show/shows do you watch?”

It still baffles me this is the way my generation and younger meet new people. I guess it’s no different than my mother, and her mother, asking around the hair salon which new novella has the most drama.

The reason I bring this up is because there are two shows, actually one, that I can truly recommend without a speck of remorse, and that show goes by the name of—“Bojack Horseman.”

“But it’s a poorly drawn animated Netflix original show about a rich, washed-up, talking horse that lives in the Hollywood hills. What can be so interesting about that?” several friends asked me at various times.

If that’s the mindset you’re going in with, then don’t watch it.

“BoJack Horseman” is a show molded from the anti-hero trope that is known throughout many TV shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter,” and “The Sopranos” before that, and probably its biggest influence: “Californication.” Which, in the first season, just about mirrors it to a tee: an alcoholic in California who struggles with writing due to writer’s block.

Like many shows, its first season struggles to connect with the audience. One of the most notable first-season slumps that later got its footing, NBC’s hit comedy “The Office” made Thursday nights funny again after the finale of “Friends.”

If you are in the least-bit interested in “BoJack Horseman,” know this before going in: be prepared to ride out the first half of the season because you find out later that it was all set up.

The show will never let go of your attention, or emotions, because if you slip up then you might lose interest. The show’s tonal balance whiplashes back and forth.

It is topical, nuanced and fun as hell. OK, OK … maybe that last line was for myself because I’m biased toward the animal puns, misspelled shirts that make a joke or a birthday banner that reads more than just “happy birthday” because the guest star comes out of the birthday cake in said episode. Celebrity guests never take the spotlight away from our main characters but I’m always impressed which big names they get, though.

At the beginning of this editorial, I mentioned that there were two shows I hold dear. That other show is “Morel Orel.” This Adult Swim original show ended way too soon, but got its message across. I brought this show up because, for being an alternative comedy show, it shifts its tone to drama with a deep message in its final season.

A show like “Morel Orel” walked so that a show like “BoJack Horseman” could run.

There are plenty of laughs to go around in both shows. “Morel Orel” with its misinterpretations of religion and “BoJack Horseman” with its silly scenarios and running gags; what made both of them so near-and-dear to my heart was their message of growing up.

And growing up is painful, but not impossible.

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In Our View: Gambling with the Innocent

The thought that someone would stoop so low as to forbid the entrance of unfortunate children, just to gain a bargaining chip, is unacceptable. The worst part about President Donald Trump’s current “temper tantrum,” is that if the U.S. Congress does not come to terms with his proposal, current benefactors of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy are at risk of being deported. Continue reading “In Our View: Gambling with the Innocent”
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