Editorial: Staff talk about student life during COVID-19

Since last March, journalists have been working effortlessly to bring readers continued coverage of the world around them. As others slowly adjusted to the new ways of life, the staff of this paper was working tirelessly to bring you the information you needed. Now with a moment to reflect, these are the testimonies of their new lives in quarantine.

Carlos Holguin: “For others, it is so easy to turn off the news while isolating. Don’t have to panic, or see the numbers rise. We do, because we choose to keep the public informed of the hard truths. As editor in chief of this paper, I see the work that we are doing together, and for the briefest of moments I’m not afraid. I’m proud of it, encouraged to keep going.”

Silvia Alfonso: “I feel like I’m being challenged in so many ways. As someone who loves to take a chill day at home, I’m finding myself getting more and more stir crazy. I am someone who feeds off of social interaction and really looks forward to seeing different people every day of the week, so it’s hard not having that anymore. I really try to have a more positive outlook on things but it has become more difficult with everything going on in the world. Overall, I’ve really learned to count my blessings during all this, and as stressed as I am, I still have so much to be grateful for.”

Jasmine Martinez: “Reporting while being 667 miles away from HSU and dealing with the overall chaos and anxiety in and outside my home has been a challenge, to say the least. As student journalists, we are taught and reminded to adapt to our situation and do the best we can to provide content for underserved communities. I’m grateful for the El Leñador staff staying connected and pushing through our individual barriers.”

Sergio Berrueta: “It’s difficult to be the Life and Arts editor when both have come to a standstill. My anxiety has been up; my fears at an all-time. I’m miles from any family and friends in self-isolation. It’s been a struggle and I’m just one of many out there feeling the same. Yet, I find comfort in my El Lenador family for being there. I hope you find some comfort in it too.”

Nancy Garcia: “Life as we knew it has changed so quickly over these last few months. During these uncertain times, it’s easy to feel pessimistic but I hope our publication brings you some comfort like it has for me. Even though the pandemic has forced many of us to adapt to a new way of life, just remember that this won’t last forever.”

Isabel Beer: “Right now, there is a global health crisis. We are being encouraged to stay at home, do nothing, and to not interact with other human beings as much as possible. These practices are frightening and foreign to many of us, but I hope that this publication reaches you and uplifts anyone who needs it. We are here together with you, even though we may be apart.”

Brenda Sanchez: “I honestly never imagined myself living in a pandemic, ever. My life has changed so much in so little time. It’s been difficult, nerve-wracking, and simply fearful. There are just too many unknowns. As much as I want to turn off the news and go offline, I feel like it’s important to stay updated and informed. Here in El Leñador we’re still writing, still putting content out there, and I think that’s something truly rewarding to be part of in a time like this. We’re here for you and most importantly we’re all in this together.”

Lupita Rivera: “I was unprepared and for the first time ever it wasn’t my fault. There is a lot of pressure right now to perform as best we can under circumstances no one was ready for, but diamonds are created under pressure so 2020 be damned. 2021 is gonna be full of diamonds and all the bread everyone made during quarantine.”

Elena Bilheimer: “Experiencing life during this pandemic has certainly been difficult and confusing for me as well as for many other people. I am still having trouble adjusting to this new reality, but it has also made me feel really grateful for a variety of reasons. I think this publication does a lot of important work for the community, and I hope it provides a much-needed resource for people during this time.”

Diego Linares: “It’s bizarre to have to write about the human experience while having our interactions limited to telecommuting. I’m someone who appreciates the face-to-face meetings for an interview or shooting photos for a story. So, the social distancing measures really grind my gears. I also miss being able to go by myself to one of the local beaches. I would park my car, and walk along the coast alone with a few cameras and a tripod. Now, everything’s changed.”

Tanya Perez: “Living through a pandemic has turned my life around. Having to do school and work from home feels more tiring now. Emotionally, it has also been very straining. I like to keep myself busy to numb my feelings
and uncertainty about this. I have learned that we should just all do our best to encourage one another and stay positive during these times and El Lenador is best at that.”

Alexandra Gonzalez: “Being on staff for this newspaper during a global pandemic has definitely been uplifting and challenging at the same time. Uplifting because in a time of reflection and solitude there is a community here working to help our Latinx community, and challenging because well, we’re working during a global pandemic. These last few weeks have been interesting but nevertheless very eye-opening and a blessing in terms of being able to make it through the tough times.”

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