Things That Matter

Shocked Workers Find A ‘Giant Rat’ Inside Mexico City’s Sewer System

The year 2020 seems to be the year that just won’t stop throwing us curve balls. In its latest attempt to shock and terrorize us, workers in Mexico City’s sewer system have found what appears to be a giant rat inside the system. The photos and video are straight out of a horror film.

Some on social media quickly wondered if this wasn’t an actual Master Splinter of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame. But it turns out that the ‘giant rat’ has a far more normal origin story.

Images of a ‘giant rat’ from Mexico City’s sewer system quickly went viral on social media.

In what many are calling another sign of the apocalypse brought to us by the year 2020, Mexico City cleanup crews discovered what looked like a monster drowned rat while dredging the sewers. The giant-size “rodent” was part of 22 tons of litter the workers had removed from the city’s drainage tunnels following heavy rains, according to the Border Report.

During the cleanup process, the workers reportedly turned a corner and encountered what they described as a “giant rat,” which sat hunched over and sported incredibly realistic fur. As it turns out, the ’giant rat’ was actually a Halloween prop that had been washed out of its warehouse by the storm. The decoration somehow ended up in the labyrinthine network of sewer tunnels, where it sat undiscovered for years — until now.

Apparently, the ‘giant rat’ was a homemade Halloween decoration that went missing after a rainstorm.

Since the ‘rodents’ discovery, a woman named Evelin López has come forward to claim the rat, which she reportedly created from scratch for Halloween. Lopez said it had gone missing “years ago” during a torrential downpour, and no one could help her retrieve it.

Fortunately, the monster rat appears to be in safe hands — as a now-viral video shows it being hosed off on the street by sewer workers after being rescued from its subterranean lair. Witnesses told El universal that they marveled at the “beast’s” naturalistic appearance, and as can be expected many admitted that they’d of gone running in fear if they had seen it on the street.

The rat’s rightful owner said she has no idea what to do with her “Princess Bride”-evoking prop. Social-media pundits suggest recycling the beast for this year’s Halloween festivities — provided they hose it off a few more times first.

Unfortunately, the rat was discovered only because crews cleaned up debris after a woman drowned following torrential rains.

The ‘giant rat’ / Halloween prop was discovered to have caused a flood which drowned a 54-year-old woman trapped inside her apartment. The woman that died was named in local media reports as Doña Mari. She was 54 and drowned in her home after the water flooded into her residence.

The water caused furniture to move and block the door trapping her inside and drowning her. Her body was discovered by a neighbor, who went looking for her after realizing she wasn’t with other residents who had congregated outside after leaving their homes due to the flooding.

Authorities cleaned the drainage system in the area in hopes of reducing the flooding, and that is when they found the giant fake rat.

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If You’ve Been Struggling with College During COVID, These Tips Might Help You Cope

Things That Matter

If You’ve Been Struggling with College During COVID, These Tips Might Help You Cope

fizkes / Getty Images

Covid-19 is changing the all-American college experience. There is no more late-night munchie runs at 3 a.m., house party hopping, or late-night cramming with friends in the library. The spirit has completely changed, but all for the greater good of keeping others healthy and safe.

Still, that doesn’t discredit the fact that we are losing the value of our education by it moving online. We’re no longer able to use the campus as a resource to help fuel ourselves academically or socially. We long for the day we are able to build a sense of community again.

Here’s how Covid has changed the college experience and what you can do to make it better.

The Move to Online

Credit: @gph/ Giphy

Being a college senior myself, remote learning has taken a huge toll on me. My days are lengthened with logging on to Zoom for everything, and yes- even my pair of blue-light glasses can’t keep me focused.

I find myself eagerly waiting for my professor to say “That’s it for today everyone,” and sometimes can only hang in there for half of the time. I’m constantly left feeling anxious and frustrated.

I was sure that universities would begin to understand how different students cope with a very tricky, unstable, and scary situation at hand. However, I’ve experienced the opposite. An overwhelming influx of papers, online assignments, and weekly quizzes quickly presented themselves. Not to mention more group projects. Weekends soon became “working-weekends” and with assignments piling up I truly felt like I was drowning.

It wasn’t long until I had to think for myself. How am I going to cope with the now? I needed to figure out the best plan I could to navigate something out of mine and everyone else’s control. If you too are struggling during this time whether it be financially, academically, emotionally, etc, please know you are not alone. Below are some resources that might help each day go by just a little better than the last, and hopefully give you peace of mind.

Finances:

COVID Emergency Assistance Funds

The last thing that we want to do is pay full price for online learning, especially during a pandemic. So check with your college or university about COVID Emergency Assistance/Relief Funds. This has greatly helped students access resources such as food, housing, course materials, technology, and affordable health care. In some cases, they even pay you to be at home. Additionally, FAFSA is allowing students to get even more aid granted despite if they were already given their semester disbursement- so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Visit your official college website & https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa for more information.

Scholarships

Trust me, we all could use a little help in this area. Luckily, Tuition Funding Sources’s (TFS) database connects students to monthly scholarships based on needs, wants, and qualifications. They have highlighted “scholarships of the day” as well as career aptitude tests that can help your search become even more personal.

Businesses are also partnering up right now to help students around the world get the support they need to further their education. The McDonald’s® HACER ® National Scholarship assists Latino students to be front and center and attain the education they deserve. In 2019, more than $500,000 was granted to 30 students in order to help finance tuition costs. And better yet, The 2020-2021 application period just opened October 5th.

For more information on how to apply for the listed scholarships, visit https://www.tuitionfundingsources.com  or https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/community/hacer.html .

Mental Health & Well-Being:

Headspace

This app is a lifesaver. From brief wellbeing exercises to longer guided meditation, Headspace is offering free downloadable tracks that can help you ease your mind at home or on-the-go anywhere and anytime. Tune in when you need a break or to re-center yourself.  

Visit https://www.headspace.com/covid-19 to see what tracks are available now.

Podcasts

Sometimes hearing someone speak and having an honest conversation about a certain topic is really fun to engage with. It provides us another perspective other than their are own, and it’s interesting to get a glimpse at the way other people live. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to listen to an episode can help ease some stress, reminding you that others are by your side who, too, have felt the same chaos.

For a great selection of podcasts, search Spotify or Apple Podcasts to start the search on some good series.

Be Patient with Yourself

Credit: @nbc/ Giphy

Remember, this pandemic is not forever although it might feel like it right now. Do not feel like you are responsible for the frustration you are undergoing. Take some time to care for yourself and take a step back from the craziness of the world to remind yourself that things will get better.

Talk to a friend, counselor, or therapist if you find yourself in a crisis more than you can bear. Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 service to anyone who needs some support and wants to speak with someone. What’s nice is you have the option to either call or text, depending on what’s most comfortable and effective for you. 

Visit https://www.crisistextline.org to get free 24/7 support whenever, wherever. 

Other Tips

Zoom Party

Credit: @snl / Giphy

Get-togethers are looking a lot different right now, but you can still plan an event that will keep all of your friends together. Zoom can be a wonderful platform not only for the classroom, but to catch up with everyone. Plan a “Whine Night” where you talk about all things life or vibe to shared music. Your university should give you an unlimited personal meeting room link so you don’t have to pay a dime for the time.

Virtual Social Hours

Many universities are offering virtual social hours so students can connect to each other and get more of a sense of community as we navigate through the days. Check online on your school’s website to see what types of activities they are offering students at this time, and what events might fit your personal or career interests.  You never know who you might meet!

Find Your Hobby 

Having a go-to hobby during this time can give you something to look forward to and be an escape from all the ongoing chaos. Look into things like surfing, socially distanced yoga classes, cooking, or hiking to get you feeling joyful and inspired. Try one thing out and see if you like it, and if not who says you can’t just move to the next thing? You’ll be surprised at what you discover will be your next “thing.”


The pandemic has definitely made college life and life, in general, a whole lot harder. Know that it is completely normal to feel mad, sad, scared, or anxious about what’s to come. With these tips, my only wish is that they help you cope just a bit more as they have for me. Together we will get through this, slowly but surely.

READ: A 13-Year-Old Student Just Became A California College’s Youngest Graduate

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#MyNameIs: Twitter Hits Back At Republican Senator Who Mocked Kamala Harris’ Name

Things That Matter

#MyNameIs: Twitter Hits Back At Republican Senator Who Mocked Kamala Harris’ Name

Robyn Beck / Getty Images

How often have you had your name mispronounced? In the U.S., if you don’t have a Anglo-sounding name, so often people think it’s totally acceptable to not even attempt to pronounce it correctly.

Well, one GOP senator took that even further by deliberately mispronouncing Sen. Kamala Harris’ name at a recent Trump rally in Georgia. And his ‘flub’ which his team is terming it was welcomed with loud cheers by the audience who welcomed his ignorance.

After a Republican Senator mocked Kamala Harris’ name, Twitter is standing up to ignorance and racism.

#MyNameIs has been trending on Twitter since the weekend, after a Republican Senator mispronounced Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ name multiple times at a rally for President Trump. 

Following the blatantly insensitive and even racist ‘flub’ by Senator David Perdue (R-GA), who was speaking at a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia, many derided the act as race baiting. Twitter users, celebrities, and politicians rallied behind Harris by sharing empowering anecdotes about and meanings behind their own names, plus instances where people have mispronounced them.

Sen. Perdue – who has worked with Kamala Harris for years – mispronounced her name to loud cheers at a Trump rally.

Sen. Perdue – who has been Harris’ Senate colleague for more than three years – repeatedly mispronounced her name during the rally ahead of the president’s arrival. 

“But the most insidious thing that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are trying to perpetrate — and Bernie and others with them — and Kah-MAH-la, KAH-mah-la, Kah-MAH-la, Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know, whatever,” he jeered, prompting laughter from rallygoers.

Perdue’s remarks drew instant backlash from fellow politicians and other users on social media — including his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, who claimed his opponent’s mispronunciation of Sen. Harris’ name was a deliberate act of racism. 

It’s not the first time the Republican senator has come under fire over racial issues. In July, his campaign ran an ad on Facebook that featured Ossoff, who is Jewish, with an enlarged nose.

“This is the oldest, most obvious, least original anti-Semitic trope in history,” Ossoff tweeted at the time.

Perdue’s campaign said it was an “unintentional error that distorted the image.”

Many other politicians took to Twitter to explain the meaning behind their own names.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-5) took to Twitter in response to a tweet from fellow squad member Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17). In her tweet, Omar explains how her name is actually spelled with an ‘m’ but she prefers the ‘n’ sound. She goes on to explain that her name means ‘inspiration’ in Arabic and that her father named her Ilham in the hope that she would one day lead a life of service to others.

The original tweet from Rep. Khanna says that her name is Rohit, which means ‘bright light’ in Sanskrit.

Plenty of celebs also chimed in with their own personal stories.

Celebrities are coming together to share the meanings and origins behind their names as part of the #MyNameIs hashtag on Twitter.

Comedian and actor and activist Kal Penn explained that he decided to change his name from Kalpen, in the hopes that it would help him more easily get a job. In a jab at Sen. Perdue, he adds in that he’d be happy to offer the senator “some tips on finding a new one [job] of his own.”

Olympic athletes also felt moved to share their names.

Even Michelle Kwan, the record-setting Olympic ice skater, was called to share the origins of her name. Her full name, in Chinese pinyin, is pronounced ‘Guan Ying Shan’ and it means beautiful, strong, and smart.

She also calls out people for mocking ‘foreign sounding’ names and asks her followers to join her in voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Others pointed out the obvious – people of color shouldn’t have to adapt their names to make it easier for white people.

It’s a shame that we have to state the obvious but that’s exactly what many were having to do on Twitter – and so often in our everyday lives. One Twitter user named Zara Ahmed explained that her parents picked out a name that would be easily pronounced by non-Indian people. But she rightfully goes onto explain that it shouldn’t be POC who have to limit their cultural identities to make life easier for white people. 100%!

Harris has even released a video on how to properly pronounce her name.

Kamala Harris, who could become the country’s first black Indian-American vice president if she and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are elected next month, has previously described how to pronounce her name, which means “lotus flower” – a sacred symbol in Asian cultures

Harris, who is running alongside Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, is the daughter of Shyamala Gopalan, who is from India, and Donald Harris, who is Jamaican. In 2010, she became the first Indian-American-Jamaican attorney general in California, and she was elected to the Senate in 2016. She also ran for president before dropping out of the primary race in late 2019.

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