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If you pay attention to the news, it’s hard not to have a negative mindset towards the world. The pandemic goes on, human rights are continuously violated, natural disasters keep ruining lives and more.

Although the semester has just started, it’s even hard to find motivation for classes during this state of the world. However, the city of Houston is still a great place to be even amongst all of life’s troubling updates.

Medically prepared

Being a major city, Houston continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, we have a quality medical infrastructure to face it at the Texas Medical Center. Even as a non-STEM major, it’s cool knowing that my city has the largest medical center in the entire world.

The Texas Medical Center is also home to MD Anderson Cancer Center, known for its cancer research. The U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Hospitals” survey ranked MD Anderson as the top cancer care center in the country. In fact, many of the hospitals in the Texas Medical Center in Houston rank very high. If you need a doctor while in Houston, you’re definitely in the right place.

Doing our part

Harris County’s mask order helped make Houston a model for other Texas cities and counties when it came to handling the pandemic. Although the Houston case numbers are still high, we are the fourth most populated city in the U.S. after all, we are trying to keep those numbers from rising.

Things can be pretty scary in a big city during a pandemic, but it feels good knowing that your town and its citizens are doing what they can to help.

Speaking of which, local volunteers recently set up a community fridge in the Third Ward. This is a huge win for fighting food insecurity in the area and reducing food waste. There are many people that are food insecure year-round, but after the pandemic many have been left jobless and homeless.

A community fridge is a great way to help make food more accessible to our local community members — no matter their financial status.

Kindness from our university

Our University has also not been afraid to show kindness to its students and community. UH didn’t hesitate to give us refunds for housing and parking last semester when the effects of the pandemic began to hit the area. They also gave students the pass/fail grading option to ensure students didn’t have to see their grades drop because of circumstances out of their control.

Some may think this is the bare minimum, but when you look at other colleges who kicked kids out of dorms without much time to pack, didn’t give refunds and kept their grading policy the same, it feels good to know your university did the right thing for its students.

UH also decided that all fall 2020 classes would have an online component to them. Those who do attend in-person classes are able to maintain six feet of separation. As a measure of safety, the University decided against hosting a large amount of in-person classes. UH also enforces mask-wearing and other COVID-19 preventative measures on campus in order to prioritize your safety as a student.

We also cannot forget that we go to a top tier research institution. UH not only enforces policies to limit the spread of COVID-19 — but they also fund research to eradicate the virus. Just recently, physics researchers created an air filter that can trap and kill the coronavirus. The filters, which would be installed in air conditioners, would help kill the virus in medical buildings.

It’s an understatement to say things are still hard. However, it’s good to know we’re living in a city that cares.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, [1] / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

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