This week we enjoyed reading diverse opinions on whether astrology is real, if the extreme cold weather is enjoyable or miserable, how to go about reinventing oneself and what 2018 will bring. As always, we were informed, impressed and entertained by ...
Polaris Hall from Danvers High School in Massachusetts was surprised how much the cold affected her daily life:
I’ve never experienced cold like this before. Until I moved up north this past summer — I’d never been in temperatures below 20 degrees fahrenheit and hadn’t planned on it — but this? Experiencing negative temperatures has been a huge blow. I know how to deal with the heat — I grew up in Texas and spent time in New Mexico and Louisiana and other sweltering southern states. I can handle heat exhaustion. Vomiting from the heat, worrying about dehydration, getting lectured for melting my shoes on the pavement — I’ve dealt with it. But now? My first blizzard? I’m completely out of my element. I’d never shoveled snow before. I’d never actually seen a snowblower. I’d never even owned a down coat. It’s overwhelming and has impacted my day to day life more than I could have even imagined. I try to be grateful for these new experiences, but honestly? I’m just too cold to appreciate them.
Tj Salvo from Danvers, Mass., agreed:
The cold weather is way too much even for me. As a kid I used to love when it snowed and going outside to build a snowman and sled. As of today I am officially over winter and am in desperate need of summer. I honestly think the weather has affected everyone negatively in one way or another. Whether it be having to shovel 14 inches off their driveway, or having to wake up an extra 30 mins earlier because they have to drive slower to work / school due to how bad the roads are. I also think this weather affects students a lot. With summer being very far away and the cold freezing us every morning on the way to school, we’re losing any and all effort of trying to work hard. We are cold and all we want to do is go and warm up with a heavy comfy blanket, not sit down and work on the ice cold kitchen table finishing our math homework.
But Jackson Spiers from Wilmington, N.C., was enjoying it:
Personally, I’ve loved the recent cold weather we’ve been having. I’ve always loved to walk outside and feel a cool refreshing breeze against my face. I am so grateful to have missed a few days of school and have an extended break. I really needed more time off for obvious reasons. This recent weather has surprised me because normally we have mild weather here in Wilmington. I have not been through any extreme weather to this point luckily, the worst I’ve experienced has been a category 2 hurricane.
And Collin MacRae from Massachusetts was grateful that a frigid chill was the worst weather New England was facing this year:
Since Christmas it seems like all of America has been trapped in a harsh cold front especially in places like New England where cities and towns were bombarded with two feet of snow and countless days near or below zero degrees not to mention the windchill that sends cold wintery air deep into your core making it almost unbearable to do anything outside your home. However, we have seen worse so I guess in some way it’s better to be really cold and snowy across America rather than to have to fight hurricane after hurricane such as this summer when it seemed as though there was never a time without a major hurricane ravaging some area of the country or during the fall when California saw one of the most massive, destructive, and deadly wildfires in history. So we can all at least be thankful that all we have to deal with is frigid temperatures and snow instead of walls of flames that march their way across cities and towns or hurricanes strong enough to rip homes from their foundations.
Credit Tracy MaWe received impassioned responses from believers and nonbelievers alike for our Student Opinion question “Do You Believe in Astrology?”
Hee Yun Chung from California was one such doubter:
I do not believe in Astrology. In fact, I think the whole concept of Astrology is nonsense. In my opinion, to think that the current location of Saturn or any other star dictating whether if I pass or fail a test is mindboggling for me. I understand that Astrology has recently become a “trendy” thing to have fun with, but to fully buy into the concept is a betrayal to the scientists and astronomers that have dedicated time, resources, and effort to explain our universe logically. First off, Astrology is not a science. Astrology is not based on evidence, the conclusions aren’t testable, and can’t be proven wrong. These qualities are the main foundations of what science is and Astrology fails to meet any of these qualities. Secondly, scientists have put Astrology to the test multiple times in the past and have found Astrology to be inconsistent. A French study in the 60s which aimed to find if people’s careers correlated with the placement of celestial bodies resulted in no correlation. However, despite the debunking of Astrology as a significant amount of Americans believe that Astrology is a type of science. It is concerning that Americans believe in an ancient practice that has no ground or base in science in terms of evidence and testability. To conclude, I think that Astrology can be practiced as a fun activity for family and friend gatherings but not applied to science that is based in reality
Voltron Thunderstorm from Wilmington was also disturbed by astrology’s recent rise in popularity:
It’s appalling to see a concept as ridiculous as astrology actually making its mark on today’s society. In a world where our scientific capabilities are vastly expanding, the last thing that we should be doing is resorting to untestable and unreliable methods for explanation and prediction. I fully understand that astrology might be a fun activity to mess around with, but attempting to apply it in the real world is just plain stupid. As a species, we have evolved past looking at relations between stars for answers to completely unrelated problems. Astrology has proven to be inconsistent in various scientific tests, and it seems that the best defense people have for it is a coincidence here and there. If people want answers they should be looking to a science — a real science — that can give them real answers. My hope is that astrology only continues to gain popularity as an activity for fooling around, and people won’t truly put faith in a completely defenseless practice.
Others, though, put themselves in the category of astrology devotees. Like Maickel from New Jersey:
Not only do I believe in astrology, I do find it to be the tool through which we can understand ourselves and the universe in which we live. In fact, you might as well could have asked me if I believed in gravity or in earth being round. For me it’s a hard fact.
I started by questioning Astrology many years ago, and had a very skeptic approach. But I would then find things that were not coincidence, that were very specific about me. And is fine when is one or maybe two things. But astrology has taught me that I am more than a combination of circumstances, that the future is not written in stars but is written in you, but within the choices taken in the present and that the reaction, not the event, to what happens in one’s life, is what matter the most. Is not about finding out when you will get a boyfriend or a new car. Is more about if and why you are ready for it.
It is not so much a religion as it is a system. Unfortunately, most people exposure to astrology is a section in a newspaper that is referring to a whole group of the population and they believe this is all there is to it. To say that someone is from one sign or the other is obviously simplistic. Is like saying someone is from a country or another. There are dozens of other factors astrology considers. If you haven’t gotten your Birth Chart done by a credited astrologer, I doubt you ever know what the big deal is about it, and why it has not gone anywhere in the over 10,000 years of history on its back.
And Sydney Durner from Wilmington, N.C., who learned a lot about herself through studying the stars:
While growing up, I remember looking at the newspaper and seeing a section for horoscopes. It always interested me and I wanted to learn more. I’ve always been into learning more about my personality, taking the Myers-Briggs personality test and looking at my natal chart. The natal chart uses when you were born, what time you were born, and where you were born to show you each house or planet you fall into. It’s more in depth than just finding the zodiac sign of the month your birthday is.
I believe in astrology. It helps us better learn about ourselves and the universe we live in. Through analyzing my chart, I was able to understand myself and how I am. The astrology chart was pretty close to what I got on the Myers-Briggs personality test too. Most people base their belief of astrology on the horoscopes people put into their blogs, but that isn’t individualized for them. That’s more of a general belief and that’s not what you should go by. If you take the time to do a natal chart and read your results, you will find that it’s pretty accurate and you may discover some things you didn’t really know about yourself, but it’s true.
I will say, astrology and the future it tells you is not set in stone. You can change the future. The choices you make shape who you are and what will happen in your lifetime.
And Julia Broderick from Danvers, Mass., who finds comfort in being able to explain the universe:
Yes, I do believe in astrology. The horoscopes that tell you you’re going to win a million dollars may not be right and sometimes the placement of the planets won’t determine whether or not you find your soul mate, however I do believe that astrology has actual meaning. The universe is a vast and unpredictable place, humans have barely scraped the surface of what is the universe is made of, what it looks like, what it’s function is, etc. There is no literal knowledge of what the universe is fully capable of because we have not witnessed or tested it all. So, astrology, the study of the planets, the dependence on their patterns, makes sense to me. The planets are a wonderful and almost magical force. The giants in the sky are centers of their own universes of life. They are important and I think incorporating them into your life is valuable to being humble and being knowledgeable about your spiritual and mindful self. The idea that these beasts can tell us why we are sad and why the day is going bad is so nice for humans to hear that we cling to it. It is in our nature to look for why things happen or what causes things. So, if someone believes that the position of mercury explains why they can’t communicate properly then that’s that. The human race, with all its complexity and differences, is the same at the core with needing to find something comforting to understand. So, astrology works perfectly to explain the inexplicable universe.
Ethan Kim from California enjoys reading his horoscopes, but advised to take them with a grain of salt:
Astrology helps us pinpoint our personality traits and characteristics, but reading your horoscope can provide you with attracting information when life seems to be at a stand-still. By explaining why certain things happen, horoscopes can help you cope with the most subjective affairs that are going on in your life. Whether you are experiencing great times and fortune, or you are going through dark, and tough times, your horoscope can provide solace when you don’t know where to turn. Life is about decisions, and keeping up with your astrological identity and horoscope can help you fix your mind to what you should do when you make decisions. Some say that just having a short read every once in awhile can help you benefit from the energy the cosmos are pushing towards you, but I believe that horoscopes can be a waste of money and time. In fact, nobody can totally rely on horoscopes to solve his or her problems. Rather, consider them as fortune cookies which give momentary pleasure but cannot sustain you forever.
Credit Peter HorvathStudents studied an illustration of “Social Media” to decipher what it says about our society.
Allison Zafiri from Massachusetts suggested:
The picture illustrates the role social media has in one’s life. Below each person is the set number of followers that they have which defines each as more “popular” than the other. The image provides the audience with information on how social media is used and how impactful it can be when being used to appeal to an audience. As depicted, social media is a place that is welcoming of all ethnicities, genders, etc. Everyone has the right to equal use and popularity of social media — which represents that the use of social media and being a part of sites demonstrates unity for all those a part of the program. Social media relates to society because it shows how each person has the ability to break away from everyday life and be anyone they want to be on social media. Social media can be beneficial in communicating with long distant family and friends, or even sharing a fascinating picture! The image comments on current day society by revealing that people utilize social media to potentially make insecurities more hidden (due to the lack of background knowledge given to a “follower” on social media), or release any stress. Having this interpretation of the image allows for the conclusion that social media can be used positively in society, or its power can be over used resulting in an over obsession with the site.
Phoebe S from Wilmington, N.C., had a more sinister interpretation:
To me this picture says that social media is everywhere. It controls us. We are always worried about what is new on it, who has texted us, snap chatted us. We look up to people who we do not even know, to people who we want to look like, to act like, to people who we aspire to be. We are glued to our phones, constantly seeing the people we wish we could be like, but that is not healthy. The almost impossible standards that we are exposed to almost every time we open our phone. Worrying about how many followers or friends we have. We are addicted to our phones and social media. The real question is though, why are we addicted?
Emily Lane Player from Hoggard High School related the image to current events:
In my opinion, this picture represents the huge impact that social media has on our daily lives. Each of these social media stars has millions of followers, many looking up to them. However, what this picture does not show, many celebrities who attained their fame in a different way, have massive followings as well. One of these celebrities is none other than our president, Donald Trump. As said by Kashana Cauley, Trump has used Twitter to “promote a tax bill that would disembowel the middle class and to attack prominent black people.” She says, however, that these tweets have made her feel more patriotic, by voicing what she believes is right for our country. Even though many argue that this is unpatriotic because it goes against our president, but in reality, this is patriotism. Patriotism is believing in one’s country and being proud of the nation. Kashana Cauley is proud of the people in America standing up for their rights, such as the football playing kneeling for the national anthem. If Americans supported everything Trump says, all of his bigotry and ignorance, simply because he is our president, this would be nationalism. Nationalism is the toxic idea that one’s nation is better than other countries, and blindly supporting one’s country, even if their nation is wrong. I believe Kashana Cauley is patriotic, because she is striving to improve our country instead of conforming to the misogynistic and racist views ingrained in the American political system.
IN from KOP PA explained how social media “likes” create a social hierarchy:
This picture illustrates the standard at which people need to stand at to be famous or well known is receiving many likes and followers. Every social media user is different and is able to stand out in their own way, but this picture only makes well known users stand out. Not everyone has thousands of likes and followers, and for those that do have special attention. This shows that for the people that have the largest amount of likes and followers having a higher ranking. This is redundant because everyone was born equal and it is not fair to be placed in a position where you are lower than someone.
And Addison Liney from King of Prussia, Pa., made a personal connection:
This image sums up a perfect explanation on how social media is changing people’s lives. One’s popularity is determined by the amount of followers we have or the number of likes we get on our recent picture. Everyone of us have been impacted by social media and for some, it has changed our lives. We are addicted to our smartphones, laptops and tablet screens. However, it is up to us to determine whether we use social media in a negative way or if we positively affect the social media world.
In response to our “GIFs” Picture Prompt, students told us how they use images to communicate their emotions.
Amanda Donahue from Massachusetts wrote:
Gifs are the perfect way to express how you feel when you can’t find the words to do so. People do say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for a reason. If you want to passive-agressively show someone you are upset with them, send a gif. If you want to show your appreciation for someone but are too awkward to put it into words, send a gif. Gifs are used all over the world because they can express universal feelings in ways that words can’t always do. Happiness, love, sadness, and anger are all emotions popularly represented by gifs in many different countries. This is because despite being universal feelings, they are much easier to express through facial expressions or actions. But, it’s 2018, hardly any communication is face-to-face anymore, gifs bring the element of expression that cannot be expressed through text.
Makena Liney from King of Prussia, Pa., told us how she uses emojis:
I use emoji when I am shocked, excited, or sad about something. By using emojis, it helps the person who is reading it understand how you feel about the situation. By using emoji it expresses if I am kind, mean, or judgmental. It expresses this because it shows what I feel about the topic being talked about.
Addison Liney from King of Prussia, Pa., thinks GIFs are changing the way we communicate:
Gifs are a new culture to the social media world. They are the perfect way to express how you feel, what you’re thinking or what you’re doing. By using gifs and emojis we can show exactly how we feel without misleading the other through words. Our words often get interpreted or altered in ways we didn’t even mean them to sound. Therefore, gifs are a great way to show how we feel!
Credit Joey YuOur Student Opinion prompt “When Have You Reinvented Yourself?” yielded introspective comments, both from a personal standpoint and a universal one.
Makena Liney from King of Prussia, Pa., said:
I have reinvented myself multiple times, but my biggest was just a few months ago. When hanging out with my friends I used to be shy and always afraid to voice my opinion. One day I asked myself, “what’s the point, why are you so reserved.” I had no answer so after that day I have been outgoing and im never afraid to say what’s on my mind. I have had so much more fun with my friends than I ever have before. Even though I might be a little hesitant to talk in front of the class, I imagine one day that will change. But, until then i will make the most of it. I think that someone can control if they change or not out of high school. It is all about where you end up.
Ethan McGrath from Danvers, Mass., said change is continual:
Knowledge is used to move forward. As people learn more, life is made easier. Tasks such as washing laundry and cooking food continue to change with the creation of new inventions and developments. Not only does the way tasks change, but people do too. People never stop reinventing themselves. From the day someone is born, the process of reinvention never ceases to reoccur. Moving up to a high school, with different expectations than past schooling meant that I especially had to change to meet higher expectations. Reinventing myself included, trying harder in specific subject areas in order to fulfill class requirements that were more difficult than before. Energy in certain subject areas needed to be re-focused and adjusted. To overcome obstacles, I had to reinvent my approach to school, which meant that I had to reinvent myself.
Annie Cote from Massachusetts said change is unexpected and outside our control:
Change is inevitable. For some, this realization is unfortunate and rather scary; while for others it is exciting and makes them eager to experience these changes in their lives. Personally, I do not believe that we can control how much we will change over time. Most personal change is a result of experience, most of which is unexpected or uncontrollable. For instance, experiencing a tragic event like a death in your family is completely out of your control, but it will in fact change who you are as a person. It may make you more angry, bitter, or it may even reshape the way you look at life and express yourself to others. On the other hand, there are change-causing things that we can control, like who we decide to be friends with, where you work, what you choose to do in your free time. But change will always remain inevitable, something that will not always be completely in our control.
Emily Ball from Wilmington, N.C., thinks reinvention can be planned, and rejected:
Part one: I believe that I was given an opportunity to reinvent myself, but I did not take it. When I was going into my 8th grade year, I was leaving my school of about 40 people in the whole grade, a school that I had been at since Kindergarten, for a school with about 40 people in just one class. Although I knew a handful of people, there were many that I was yet to be acquainted with. I felt that this was a chance to reinvent myself, being that hardly anyone would know me. I thought this for a little while, and then decided that I would rather be who I felt I had always been. Looking back, I do not believe that there has really been a time when I have “reinvented” myself, per se, but I have gradually changed over time. I believe that change within people is inevitable, either it being a sudden change, or a gradual one. I have seen some of my friends reinvent themselves though, and sometimes I don’t know how to feel about it. Much like Navlakha in the article, I don’t want to lose them. I am a sophomore in high school right now, and I feel like I will definitely change when I leave for college and continue that change throughout my freshman year. I think this because leaving home and going to college is one of the biggest events that will happen in my life. As Navlakha did, I hope to also change in the way I feel about certain subjects in academics in college.
Kevin Jordan from Danvers, Mass., said a person’s essential nature never changes:
In her article on reinventing oneself in college, Meera Navlakah argues that change is inevitable in our lives when we place ourselves in new environments. I agree with Meera that new experiences alter our personalities. For example, many of my friends in middle school who attended private school instead of Danvers High have grown differently in the past couple years than the rest of us have. While our attitudes have remained the same, many of them have a more privileged life than public school students. At private schools, they are required to dress much more formally, often enduring more rigorous principles at their respective schools. In turn, they have developed a first class attitude compared to us. While the difference in wealth may affect students attitudes, I have remained good friends with these preparatory students. The core of their personality remains beneath the surface. People do not really change that much. Deep down, people are who they have always been. New environments seem to change people on the surface. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks however. While I expect my friends and I will change over the course of our lives, the core of our personalities will remain the same.
Credit Andrew Chuani HoOur Picture Prompt “New Year’s Resolutions” brought in some predictable, and some not-so-predictable, responses.
Coco Liu from Taipei, Taiwan, said:
I do make New Year’s resolutions each year, but it’s actually hard for me to keep.
Jessica Lee from Wilmington, N.C., thinks resolutions are for yourself, not others:
Many people perceive New Years resolutions to be ways to make other people like you, but I think they are about making you like yourself. To me, New Years resolutions are about making yourself the best you can be, whether it be in health, or in mindset. In the past I have not stuck to my resolutions, but this year I made a goal that I can achieve. My resolution is to drink more water. It will help me be a stronger athlete, which is something I myself strive to be. Hydrating is not all about sports, however. Hydrating also helps your body function better and keeps you healthy. I downloaded an app that keeps track of your fluid intake so I don’t have an excuse to fall short. It is important to hold yourself accountable to your New Years resolutions, and not just tell your peers how well you’re doing. Remember, the reason why you’re doing this should be for you, not for them.
Hal Warren from Massachusetts doesn’t feel the need to make any resolutions this year:
In years past I had always made some sort of resolution. I would do something like I want to lose weight or I want to be kinder to others. But this year I found that I’ve bettered myself, I’m happy with myself and I’ve done all the important things I needed to do. Sure, I realize it’s important to keep going, to keep working out, to keep being kind; but I don’t think that requires a new resolution.
Gabriel Preusser from Craryville, N.Y., aims for health:
I tend to make New Year’s resolutions. Most of the time I don’t keep them. This year I have a lot of good and healthy ones that I want to keep. For example i want to eat healthier, and spend less time on my phone and video games. I’m excited to start these steps in working towards my goal which is to be the healthiest and happiest that I can be.
McKenzie Ingram from Wilmington, N.C., agrees:
Personally I try to make “New Year’s Resolutions” but I typically forget about them and move on. I do however, make sure that I try to improve myself in one way or another throughout the new year. Whether it’s improving my grades, volunteering more, or simply just making sure I stay healthy and take care of myself. In general I believe that new year’s resolutions are a bit cliché. Most people make them after they have had a rough previous year, and hope that the next year improves, but, usually it doesn’t. Usually we create a mindset that we are going to improve ourselves and our lives by making these resolutions but the average person doesn’t actually try to keep up with them. We simply state what we want to do to improve ourselves for the next year and made mediocre steps to complete that goal. I do believe that some people really can and will complete their new year’s goal, and I applaud those people because usually I, myself, cannot complete the many goals that I have set for myself at the beginning of the year. I only have one goal this year and it’s to take care of myself, to make sure that I am healthy mentally as well as physically. The steps that I am willing to take in order to complete this goal is to, eat healthier, drink more water, (try to) procrastinate less and to make time to hangout with loved ones such as friends and family. I’m excited to start these steps in working towards my goal which is to be the healthiest and happiest that I can be.
Credit Kiersten EssenpreisCommenters who answered our prompt “What Are Your Predictions for 2018?” made reference to much negative news and less-than-hopeful events from 2017.
Calvin Walker from El Dorado, Ark., was not optimistic:
I think 2018 will be a year full of disagreement and conflict in our government and country. I feel like Trump will continue to lead our country in a direction that won’t benefit us. I also believe that we will go into further debt.
KJ from El Dorado, Ark., touched on many issues:
2017 was a year to remember. There were a lot of events that have raised questions and caused tensions to rise. With trump being elected there has become a great division within the country. He has also started rising conflicts with other nations most notably North Korea. Now that it is 2018, I believe things can get better. Now that we went through an entire year with the way things have ran, people will wake up and begin to take a stand in what they believe. Both parties of congress will start to work together to some extent because the president is somewhat against his own party. I think we will start to see a lot more states that are usually red will start to tip blue or at least not be as red. The House will become split after the midterms. I believe many of the social issues such as taking a knee and the me too movement will only continue. I do believe however if the movement continues we will have more and more people become against it because it is starting to take the form of a witch hunt. Countries will try to find better ways to crackdown on terrorist. As for the Korea missile crises, I believe that it is very likely that Russia will try to step in and force the situation. That is if Putin wins his next election which I think he could lose. If he does win it will be a close one. In the world of sports, I believe the Saints will win the Super Bowl, Arkansas the college mens baseball championship, and the Boston Celtics the 2018 NBA Finals.
Lauren Clement from Massachusetts said things will stay the same:
Our world in general will not change in 2018. The idea of 2018 being a new year is just a label. Even though the new year seems like the epitome of all things change, nothing ever does. I predict there will be just as much if not more conflict. As for U.S. politics, I believe Donald Trump will further his border wall agenda and attacks against other countries. I believe the economy will continue to improve as it has, and stocks will continue to rise. Fashion will continue to be increasingly edgy and our culture will continue to be rivaled by racism, bigotry, and societal conformity. As for my family and loved ones I hope they have a happy, safe year and I wish for academic and athletic success for myself.
Samman Naz from Massachusetts agreed:
I predict that 2018 will be no better than 2017. There have been so many countless global, national, and local disasters in 2017, that they cannot be recovered by 2018 or possibly even 2019. In fact, such disasters will continue to pile on to the existing ones and eventually there will be more than we can bare and shortly after, there will be nuclear war and an extinction the human race. I am only predicting extreme circumstance because after what 2017 left us with, going to extreme measures is the only way we can prepare for what 2018 holds for us. I mean think about it. We put a racist businessman who has no logical knowledge on how to be a leader in charge of our nation. How can I not predict that there will be a nuclear war? But that is only my political predictions for 2018. As for economic predictions, I can honestly say I don’t know. Finally, the future for the realms of culture, arts, fashion, and style is looking bright. Despite all of the political and economic dilemmas that will go on, I feel like culture, arts, etc. will truly flourish because I’ve noticed in 2017, that people began to embrace their love for different cultures and arts and I think it will continue like that in 2018. But, in the end, the bad overshadows the good and despite such improvements in the arts and culture, the political issues will rise higher. But, these are only my predictions. Maybe, that won’t happen. Maybe everything will lighten up in 2018. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Derek Moore from Aruba is cautiously optimistic:
2017 was a year overcome by an overwhelming blanket of controversy and violence. However, it is possible that some of this could be resolved in 2018, especially with the formation of improved policies around the world to hinder gun violence, drug abuse, and terrorism. Furthermore, the people of the United States have been hiding under their desks in fear of a nuclear attack or getting hacked. I predict that in 2018, the Russia investigation on the hacking in the 2016 election that had plagued the nation for the past year will be progressed upon, and the United States will become a more secure nation as a whole. Along with the booming economy, this development could bring America to a state of enhanced greatness and prosperity. Although there is still a lingering issue with “Rocket Man” in North Korea, hopefully there will be a continuation of the six-party talks or some form of bilateral treaty with the aggressive nation that will leave countless countries feeling much more secure. Outside of politics, there will most likely be major changes in the world of entertainment. With widespread debate over national anthem protests in leagues such as the NFL, there will most likely be a shift in viewership of this sport, to other leagues such as the NBA or the NHL. This was mildly evident during this football season, but more viewers will most likely return to watch the upcoming playoffs, and the New England Patriots winning another championship.
Chloe Raesly from Danvers, Mass., doesn’t know what will come next:
2017 has been a very eventful year. Our country has experienced many catastrophes that range from political to economic. Politically, our country has elected a man who is hated by most. There has been a large variety of national disasters along with global and local ones. I predict that 2018 will not be much different than 2017 regarding these issues. For example, I believe that since the minimum wage increase, small businesses are going to be greatly effected. In order pay their employees, small businesses will have to increase their prices so that they will still be bringing the same amount of money into their business. Additionally, social media shows how people nowadays especially children will believe anything they see. This will negatively affect the minds of our youth as it has already done in some situations in 2017. 2017 was a year of unpredictability. We could not predict the various terrorist attacks, along with the hurricanes and the forest fires. I believe the 2018 will also be a year of unpredictability. There is no way of knowing what will come next. Positively, fashion and trends will continue to increase and change. Maybe there will be a fashion breakthrough. We will just have to wait and see. The world is constantly changing around us and there is no way of knowing what will follow next, like a story book. I guess we’ll just have to keep turning those story book pages in order to see what will happen next, positive or negative.
Credit Clockwise from top left: Jake Michaels for The New York Times; Andre D. Wagner for The New York Times; Daniel Arnold for The New York Times; Rose Marie Cromwell for The New York TimesStudents enjoyed discussing their personal “Style” for our Picture Prompt. Here are just a few:
Addison Liney from King of Prussia, Pa., says style is expression:
You are what you wear. We can express a lot about our personality through our sense of style. Imagine a world where everyone wore the same thing, bought the same items and wore the same accessories. Fortunately, you can create and express your style in any way you wish through your feelings, thoughts and interest. Clothes say a lot about a person. Have fun with it!
Olivia Rotondo from Philadelphia says outfits can change your mood:
Personally, I think the way you dress has a huge impact on who you are and who you strive to be. But, your outfit does not always accurately define who you are. Some days I dress a little more edgy, some days I dress a little more preppy, but overall I dress how I am feeling that day.
Polaris Hall from Danvers High School in Massachusetts conjured up visions:
It’s easy to forgot who are (and who you want to be) when you’re going through school and ushered through life, but personal style helps me feel grounded. Sorting through vintage and thrift shops for hours on free weekends can almost seem tedious, but finding the right piece — an old military coat or patterned silk blouse — or even the very, VERY wrong piece — a pair of leather pants with cowhide patches or tasmanian devil underwear — helps me rediscover a little part of myself I sometimes feel is lost. Lots of color and accessories, jewelry and patterns — they all help remind me that I’m me and I’m alive and there’s nothing greater than that. Cutting my hair in a split-second decision makes me feel in control and makes any other quick choice a lot easier to handle. Leather jackets and bright pink combat boots help me feel whole and are a celebration of life and of love and are, more than anything, a reminder that I am stronger than I may seem, and certainly stronger than I feel.
Victoria Jackson from Wilmington, N.C., has an indescribable style:
Each day when I come into class, at least one classmate says “ooh she’s got a different look today!” I love changing up the clothes I wear and keeping my peers on their toes guessing what I’ll wear next. There’s really no way to describe my style. I take inspiration from all types of styles, grungy, preppy, chic, couture and more. I usually shy away from regular clothes you find at a mall and always find my key unique pieces at thrift stores. To get the real feel of vintage clothing, I even shop around in my grandmas closet! I would say my style reveals my personality, it shows I’m always open to new things and I’m unpredictable. I really only started to dress the way I do now about two years ago. What stopped me from really expressing myself in my outfits before was my fear for what others may think of me. I’m glad I learned to let that go and just be me.
Cassie Prentiss from Massachusetts takes style inspiration from others:
If someone who is my moms age were to look at my overall style of clothing, they would probably say “that’s something I would have worn when I was a kid”. I wouldn’t say I dress in parachute pants and backwards caps, but I would say I dress differently from the modern t-shirts and jeans trends. I think my clothing choices say that I’m unpredictable, I tend to wear things that are completely different from what I’ve worn the day before. Although I’d love to say I’m the most original person on the planet, I know it’s not true. The clothes I wear may be different, I might not wear any makeup at all and my hair may be shorter than the normal girl’s hair, but I still take inspiration from those I’d love to be one day. The types of girls who can wear absolutely anything on the market and constantly look amazing are the girls I’d love to become. It takes time to fully understand who you are, personal style is a huge part of that. I would say I’m experimenting with my style any way I can, even though I could completely change my mind tomorrow. It’s a journey I’m glad to take.
“Puzzling out how West Fourth Street could be right next to West 12th,” Ms. Gerwig writes, “I realized that I was doing alone what my mom had done with me years before. Walking, walking, walking, learning the city by foot.” Credit Kathy Lo for The New York TimesOur Student Opinion prompt “What City or Town Most Captures Your Imagination?” captured the imagination of our readers.
Derek Moore from Aruba has a specific city in mind:
The most interesting city in the United States, in my opinion, is Detroit, Michigan. In my lifetime, I have never witnessed a more disappointing city, with less impressive attractions. First off, the sports teams in Detroit are an overall disaster. The Detroit Tigers, Detroit’s astounding MLB franchise, finished last in their division, behind even the 67-95 Chicago White Sox. Additionally, the Tigers have won only four championship titles in the history of the MLB, and the last time they won was in 1984. Furthermore, the Detroit Lions, Detroit’s incredible NFL team, has not appeared in the playoffs for 26 years. Along with this outstanding drought, the Lions have never appeared in a Super Bowl Championship game. For some odd reason, I am amused by Detroit’s lack of success in sports. This is not an insult, but I am waiting for the day where I look up at the television and see the sports teams of Detroit dominating everything. Other than its sports teams, Detroit is also plagued by abandoned houses and failing properties. Mobile homes and trailer parks are widely popular in this city, and this reflects some famous people from this city, such as Eminem, who often speaks of the poor conditions in this city. Despite its many downsides, Detroit does have rich history in music, and it has many museums and such that are fascinating and fun to explore. I find Detroit interesting because it is so abstract and different from every other city in this country.
Madison Seeley from King of Prussia, Pa., said a change of scene can elevate a person’s mood:
When I was about 8 years old, I moved from Maine to Pennsylvania. This was a HUGE change. Although, my all-time favorite place to go is Puerto Rico. I absolutely love Puerto Rico. When my dad asked me to go on this trip with me, I was hesitant at first. I am so glad that I went, though. I associate my favorite place, Puerto Rico, with the beach and sunshine because at that point in my life, I was very sad and I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. When I dream about going somewhere, I dream of going to Australia because it is so different than the United States. It is on the opposite side of the world! I believe that everyone should be able to go to the place that makes them smile.
Lola Byers-Ogle from Wilmington, N.C., seeks diversity in a chosen place:
I have grown up in a relatively small city in the south and lived there my entire life so far. I traveled to Washington D.C. when I was 12 years old, and ever since I knew that I wanted to live out my adult life there. Unlike Ms. Gerwig, I don’t associate a person/people with the city, in fact, I’ve always seen it as a symbol of my independence and freedom from the people in my small town. The reason I love D.C. is the rich culture in the city. Coming from a family of Italian immigrants, I have always been curious about other countries. My dream is to live in a nice apartment in D.C. and work at one of the foreign embassies. There isn’t much diversity in my hometown as D.C., which is why I hope to move there eventually.
Shelby Johnson from Massachusetts finds cities electrifying:
Much like Ms. Gerwig, I have grown up in a small, suburban town. I too love New York, with its constant energy and amazing collection of people. However, not just New York is enticing to me. Of all of the places I’ve been lucky enough to travel to, cities have always been my favorite part. I’ve always loved going into Boston, even though it’s just a short distance from my hometown. Philadelphia, D.C., Chicago, Seattle, Prague, Dublin, and Barcelona have been where some of my favorite memories were made. Wherever I go, cities all seem to have an electricity from being filled with all different kinds of people. In a city, it seems that there is always something to do, always something happening, always new and interesting people who are different from each other. No matter where I end up in life, I want to be in the heart of this energy and life. I can’t say for sure if there’s one city in particular that I know I’ll be drawn to, but as long as I’m in the midst of this excitement I think I will be very happy.
Ann Nguyen from Massachusetts wants to stay in-state:
The city that most captures my imagination is Boston, my home state’s capital. I might want to live there one day when I am in my 20s. Boston has a special place in my heart for its millennial spirit and innovation. Boston is not too crowded, but when there are small concerts or protest rallies, the people of Boston come together to enjoy life. Friends stroll along the city sidewalks, laughing, while strangers politely greet each other. I love the tall buildings that soar above the city, surrounded by beautiful bodies of water like the Charles River. People can walk and bike in the welcoming atmosphere of Boston. What I love most about Boston is its culture and diversity. There are so many museums to explore and admire. My favorite painting is “the Dos Mujeres” by Frida Kahlo in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. At night time, the city hums with jazz music by the park and chattering by the movie theater. I like visiting Boston, but one day, I would love to be a part of the city.
Credit Tracy MaAmid the most recent app craze, we asked students “What Makes HQ Trivia So Popular?”
Madison Capezzuto from Danvers, Mass., had one theory:
What caused the sudden outbreak of popularity for this simple game? Having the application myself, I have an inside opinion on why and how it has risen in popularity. Competition. The simple game brings upon a rather Americanized view on competition and the connotations that go along with winning and losing. Just the word ‘loser’ has extreme negative connotations as it implies that someone is less than others when a majority of people would rather be in the position of power that goes along with winning. Although this game is based off of facts that many people just simply would not know, it brings out the competitive and rather neanderthal ways of many people. Playing just one game of HQ, you would be able to discover many things about the human psyche and how detrimental a lose or a simple wrong answer can be to someone.
Sydney Durner from Wilmington, N.C., gets the appeal from personal experience:
Just yesterday morning, I got in my cousin’s car at school and he told us about this addicting game, HQ. I had heard of it before, but I was nervous to download it. When my brother and I got home, we both downloaded the game and were waiting for the new game to start at 9. The prize for this game was $2000. As soon as the clock hit 9, we both joined.
I think the appeal of the games lies in the fact that it is challenging and there is a chance for a cash prize. Trivia has always been popular, I remember when everyone was hyped over Trivia Crack. HQ is challenging, engaging, and just a fun experience overall. The hosts make (cringey) jokes which creates a bond with the players. Everyone loves Scott, the questions vary, and as it mentions in the article, the “Darwinian aspect” of the game, watching thousands of people get eliminated, boosts your ego for the time being and makes you feel superior. It’s a very highly addicting game and I understand why after playing it.
Sharan Srinivasan from King of Prussia, Pa., compared the popularity of the app to another game:
HQ Trivia’s most compelling aspect is the fact that you have the possibility of winning real money in the game. Another key aspect that gets it more customers is the feeling of intellectual superiority that their players experience when they do get questions right. In school, we often play games called Kahoot, which has an idea similar to HQ Trivia. Basically, anyone (mostly teachers) can create these games filled with multiple choice questions. When we play, the question is normally shown on a big screen (such as a projector or smart board), and the students can select their answers on their devices, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or even a smartwatch. We’re given points based on speed and accuracy, and the teacher/host normally has some sort of prize for the person with the highest score at the end. Now, being obsessed with a mobile app doesn’t mean that humans are lazy, jealous, or greedy, but it does reveal what sorts of things we find entertaining.
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