NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.


Does it hurt? A local pharmacist's vaccine experience

“The shot itself doesn’t hurt,” Hunter Gouldthorpe said. “What’ll really knock you out is what comes after.”   Gouldthorpe has been working as a pharmacist at the Salisbury, Mass. branch of CVS pharmacy for two years.   Though the high paced work environment is often a source of stress, his position came with an unexpected perk this past week: he was able to get his doses of the vaccine early.   “I got a call from one of my co-workers who works at a clinic in Newburyport and she said, ‘How fast can you get here?’ She told me she had extra doses of the vaccine she could give to my co-worker Justine and I.”   Justine Curley, also a pharmacist at CVS, said, “shots generally make me woozy”, but regardless, she was excited.  The two vaccines currently being distributed by the FDA are from Pfizer and Moderna, both of which are two dose vaccines.   The vaccine appointments, usually scheduled via the website, are typically scheduled in tandem. However, in Gouldthorpe and Curley’s spontaneous situation, the second dose would be scheduled upon their departure from the clinic.   Gouldthorpe and Curley said that, upon arrival, even though they had each worn a mask to the clinic,…

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COVID curveball: The pros and cons of learning online

Life changed abruptly for students and faculty members when the Covid-19 pandemic hit last March.   With cases rising around the country, this prompted the precautionary decision for all schools, from kindergarten to college, to go virtual. By mid-March, most school campuses were closed and had transitioned to online classes full time to help slow the spread of Covid-19.    “I felt uneasy since this was not something I experienced before,” said Callin MacDonald, 20, of Haverhill.  “I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my friends,” said UMass Lowell student Emily Henrick, 20, of Haverhill.   Online learning consists of regular zoom meetings and visits to online educational platforms such as Blackboard. It offers more flexibility than in-person courses. Students can wake up later than previously necessary to attend classes.   “I have the freedom to create my own schedule,” said MacDonald.   This newfound freedom has presented another challenge: staying focused. Attending class from home as opposed to in classrooms, opens students to an abundance of distractions that may make staying on task difficult.   As Henrick put it, “Discipline is required and so is motivation. Instead of a library or classroom, I’m in my bed with my phone next…

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COVID-19 has torn apart the fabric of trade schools, where online learning fails as a substitute

The teachers and students at trade and technical high schools have been suffering over the past year due to COVID-19 and the implementation of online learning.   Trade schools like Whittier Technical High School and Essex Agricultural High School have been at the tail end of the changes brought on by COVID-19.  (Editor’s note: This story reflects experiences at the vocational schools before they bgean to phase in an in-person schedule in mid-March..) Students have lost a large part of their education with the absence of hands-on learning, a fundamental part of learning a trade.   Many things have been left behind as they move forward in school. Learning solely from a book via a computer does not provide these students with the tools and skills they need to be successful in their trades once they leave high school.    Danielle Young is a student at Essex Agricultural High School, studying sustainable horticulture.   She has found learning to maintain plants over a computer to be unsuccessful and upsetting. Young says that with online learning “you lose the tactile part of education and the rest doesn’t stick well. It’s extremely draining to sit there looking at a screen all day, to…

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News Bytes

Accessibility events to be held in April

Accessibility Events flyer April 2021

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Panel highlights careers in journalism/communication

The Center for Liberal Arts hosts Career Panel events from timeto time to connect students with professionals in the liberal arts community. The purpose of thisevent is to have the liberal arts students listen in on how these communication professionals were able to achieve their level of success starting off…

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How NECC students feel about artist Lil Nas X’s new and most controversial project release, “Montero”

On March 29, 2021, famous musician Lil Nas X released a scandalous new song entitled “Montero”, accompanied by a graphic music video and limited-edition pair of “Satan Shoes” created by MSCHF. Due to the song’s satanic premise and demonic imagery of which has triggered much uproar within the religious community,…

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The new normal: How remote learning is impacting students' well-being

A year into the coronavirus pandemic many individuals are still facing significant struggles.  The pandemic has had a huge impact on the way college students learn, forcing them to transition from a traditional in-person learning style to a virtual method of learning through a computer screen with limited interaction.  …

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Coping with quarantine: Students try to persevere despite pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but they can make us feel isolated and lonely…

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Navigating nursing home woes: How a vulnerable population is affected by the coronavirus pandemic 

Many families with members in nursing homes have been severely impacted by the pandemic.   “The impact the pandemic has had on residents in the nursing homes that suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia has been great,” says Laura Tanguay of Lowell, Massachusetts.   Tanguay worries a lot about the state of her 88-year-old dad that she has not been able to take out of the nursing…

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Featured Articles

Speechapalooza 2021: Coming to a screen near you

Northern Essex Community College’s 7th annual Speechapalooza event will be held virtually for the second year in a row due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It will be held over a span of three days, April 30, May 1, and May 2 on YouTube @ Speechapalooza was created in 2015 and sponsored by NECC’s Liberal Arts: Communications/Journalism Program and continues to be organized by students enrolled in Principles of Public Relations (COM113). Since its debut, the event has celebrated student speakers involved in Public Speaking or Public Presentation-intensive classes. The students prepare and give speeches about a variety of topics to a wide audience. Last year’s Speechapalooza was in the midst of planning when the pandemic hit, so students had to shift gears to…

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Students take on virtual escape room

With the exit doors locked and just an hour to escape a horde of the undead, our (virtual) fate was all but sealed. Luckily, the post-apocalyptic world had never seen the likes of such crafty community college students as ourselves. On April 8 2021, I, as a reporter for the Observer, along with fellow NECC students, played through a virtual Zoom-session escape room. Escape rooms challenge players to explore and solve riddles, puzzles or whatever else stands between them and the exit. Of course, we had to do all of this before the hour-long timer ended. Escape Experience, a business physically located in Chattanooga, TN ran our game. It worked over Zoom like this: an Escape Experience employee wearing a body-mounted camera acted as our…

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Registration for summer, fall begins at NECC

Registration for the summer and fall semesters is now open at Northern Essex Community College. The school is offering many different options for classes. There will be in person classes, only for health and stem classes unless the pandemic improves as stated on NECC’s website. There will be online classes, online classes with required zoom meetings and hybrid classes. This time students have more range to pick what suits them. Caroline Hamilton who is studying psychology at NECC says that she is registering for the fall semester. She was aware of all the different options. Hamilton says, “I think the options of classes are good because they allow for face to face interaction for students and their peers.” She also said that the new options…

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